From living away from home for the first time to overwhelming schedules, college and university can be stressful, but Good2Talk is there for students no matter what struggles they’re facing.
Good2Talk is a free, confidential helpline for post-secondary students. funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’. Callers are provided with professional counselling and referrals for mental health issues and addictions.
Until April 2017, Good2Talk is campaigning to promote help-seeking among students on 37 Ontario post-secondary campuses.
Good2Talk outreach coordinator Megan Van Massenhoven said the campaign is spreading the message that students don’t have to hide their problems away; it seeks to help end the stigma that comes along with talking about mental health issues
“Any issue, big or small, we’re always there 24/7. We talk to students about all sorts of things like roommate issues or paying bills to even more severe crisis. Going through those things can be very stressful so we want students to know they can call us anytime,” she said.
Up to 20,000 post-secondary students contact Good2Talk each year.
The Good2Talk Evaluation Summary found 95 per cent of callers had a better plan for how to handle their concern after calling for information or a referral and 87 per cent of callers said they felt less distressed.
Second year University of Guelph-Humber psychology student Nicole Jardine said the stress of a new school, new city and making new friends takes a toll on every first year student.
“The mix of all these factors can add up (to) making people question what is happening in their life and unfortunately, stemming into other serious things like depression, hopelessness, and suicide,” she said.
Van Massenhoven said students can also find counselling at their campus’ Health and Wellness Centre.
Humber College’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre offers a free, confidential 12 week program called From Intention to Action. The program helps students who are feeling overwhelmed develop better strategies for balancing school and their well-being.
The Canadian Mental Health Association found 70 per cent of people start noticing mental health issues in their late high school to early college years.
Third year Guelph-Humber early childhood education student Elsie Yu said a child’s mental health can influence their future and she thinks that is what causes people to notice their mental health issues at an older age.
“If you don’t talk about mental health, then you don’t really know about it until it worsens. Usually by the time you’re in high school or post-secondary, that’s when the pressure is pretty intense,” she said.
“I think it’s important to teach children and college students the importance of mental health and how a young person can start experiencing the effects of a mental illness.”