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Keeping tabs on your mental health and wellness

by Mina Mazumder February 2, 2016
Keeping tabs on your mental health and wellness

Concordia’s event brings awareness to the stress and conflicts many students are facing

Concordia’s Counselling and Psychological Services recently hosted an event to raise awareness about mental health and to help students improve their overall wellness.

Graphic by Thomas Bell.

Graphic by Thomas Bell.

Psychologists were available to answer any questions students had related to stress, mental health or even about a friend who they might be concerned about. One of the psychologists willing to chat was Marc Leger, who works at the university as a counsellor.

“We want to make sure to support students with the issues they are dealing with,” he said. Bringing awareness to mental health is important as stress can interfere with our everyday lives and proper functioning, he said.

Information sheets were also available to guide students who may be facing certain issues related to stress, depression or personal relationships.

“People might feel shy to seek help [so] it is important to show that we exist,” Leger said.

Having the courage to seek help and deciding that your health is something worth addressing is crucial and a strength, he said.

Leger said that one of the main things that students come to him about are relationship issues. He also helps many students with depression, anxiety and stress.

Knowing the symptoms and being self-aware is crucial to students’ well-being, Leger said.

“The main symptom is when you are recognizing that you are feeling stressed or anxious, and your body will tell you, as well, if you are feeling a bit more tense about things,” he said. “[You won’t be] able to concentrate, [you’ll] isolate yourself or have more negative thoughts or turn to things to cope such as substances, whether it is alcohol or smoking up to numb the feeling or move away from it.” He added that lack of sleep might also be an indicator.

Leger also emphasized the importance of listening and showing support. “People ask, ‘how are you?’ but they need to take the time to listen,” Leger said. He recommended confiding in one or two friends and talking to them about struggles you might be facing. “We talk about dental hygiene but mental health hygiene [is also important] in terms of self-care,” he said.

“There is a pressure to always be happy and okay,” he said. For example, on Facebook, people might seem happy based off of the photos we see, but there is always the other side of a person that isn’t made public, he said.

The event offered interactive info sheets, including a “What’s Your Stress Index?” form as a simple way to fill-up and recognize your levels of stress. Counselling and Psychological Services are offered at the downtown campus in room H-440. The triage is a new service they offer—a drop-in brief appointment with a professional. Students can drop by Monday to Friday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 2 to 3:30 p.m.

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