Following his passion for mental health: Aedan Beattie’s experience in DC’s Community Mental Health – Honours Bachelor degree program

From a very young age, Aedan Beattie has been fascinated by mental health and wellness. Captivated by the human mind, and his own experience with mental health struggles, he followed his desire to help people, which led to enrolling in Durham College’s (DC) Community Mental Health Honours Bachelor degree program.

Now, after recently completing the first year of the program, which started in September 2023, we caught up with Aedan to hear about his experience at DC, his future career goals in the mental health field, and his personal strategies for prioritizing his mental well-being.

Why did you want to take this program?
I knew what it was like to struggle with mental health due to personal experiences, and I wanted to help others as others had helped me. Eventually, I discovered this program, and I was thrilled to know that I would be among the first to sign up for it.

What has your experience been like so far in the program?
My experience has been great so far! I love the professors, my classmates, the curriculum, everything. DC is an incredible school. Not to be over-zealous or anything, but I’ve never felt more supported than I have since I came to DC. The professors are wonderful, the environment is respectful and friendly, and I’ve loved being so close to such like-minded people who have quickly become my friends. I’m rooting for all of them; I know they’ll all go on to make excellent contributions to this field.

What has surprised you the most about this program?
I would say the course that surprised me the most would be social justice and equity. I thought I was pretty socially aware, doing a pretty good job keeping up with the big social issues that our societies face, but each and every day I was learning something new. And I learned a lot about myself, I learned about my own advantages and disadvantages and how that will translate to my future work.

What do you enjoy the most about being a DC student?
The campus is beautiful, the people are friendly, and it’s obvious the staff cares about my success. I also love the smaller class sizes at DC, they allow for a closer relationship between everyone in the classroom, allowing for genuine relationships.

What are your future career goals?
As of right now, I know I would love to counsel anyone who needs it. Though I’d probably focus mainly on younger adults, simply due to how immensely important that frame of time is. 

How do you prioritize your own mental health?
Personally, a major part of managing my mental health is just being kinder to myself. Taking breaks, rewarding myself, taking time to get some physical exercise in, and making sure to eat right are all so important. It’s about taking time for myself. I’m only human, after all, and I can’t do everything all the time without eventually just burning out. I’ve also been trying to break out of my shell and put myself out there a bit more than I have before, and it’s been doing wonders! And above all else, I listen to what my body is telling me. Sometimes, I have bad days where I don’t feel well at all, no matter what. So, on those days, I take care of easier tasks and save the harder ones for when I feel better. Another important one is to be proud of yourself for your grades, no matter what. You worked hard for that; be proud of yourself, and don’t compare yourself to others unless you do so constructively. Comparison is the thief of joy, after all!

Do you have anything else you’d like to share?
Live your life, live it how you want, and live it well. Don’t be afraid to talk to others if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to self-reflect, and always remember that you CAN grow. That’s some of the best advice I can give. Things will get better! I believe in you; you got this!

To learn more about the mental health services available at DC, check out our Wellness Directory.