Mind your body

Mind Your Body Day promotes college and community resources available to support mental health.

Do you know that as many as one in five people in Ontario will experience a mental illness at some point in their lifetime? Mental illness appears in many different forms and does not discriminate, affecting men and women of all ages, race and socioeconomic status. According to Statistics Canada, teenagers and young adults aged 15 to 24, experience the highest incidence of mental disorders of any age group in Canada. Furthermore, the Canadian Mental Health Association reports that Canada’s youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industrialized world, claiming the lives of 4,000 youths each year.

It was these statistics and a campus commitment to positive mental health that brought the Durham College Health Centre and local community health services together in a joint awareness event titled Mind Your Body Day on September 28.

Held to help educate students about mental health issues and promote the many free health services available on campus and in the community, the event featured campus and community displays from organizations including Canadian Mental Health Association Durham, Creating Opportunities for Personal Excellence Mental Health and the Durham Rape Crisis Centre.

“Early identification of mental health problems and timely intervention are crucial to long-term health,” said Rob Adams, executive director of Durham Mental Health Services. “College can be a stressful and disorienting time for many students and this event allowed us, and other community services, to reach a demographic that otherwise might not be aware of the help that’s available.”

Despite staggering statistics many stereotypes and stigma are still associated with mental health issues including the fear of rejection and exclusion, which can leave many people to suffer alone and unwilling to seek help to avoid being labelled with a mental illness. Educating people on the realities of mental illness can be key in battling the associated stigma.

“It’s so important that students know there is help available if they experience mental or emotional distress,” said Amanda Cappon, mental health worker, Campus Health Centre. “We hope this event helped to normalize mental health concerns and push back against the stigma that sometimes prevents people from reaching out for help.”