MRU coping with hurt
Survey revealed that 15 per cent of students are dealing with depression
There is little question that many students face the stress breakdowns that come with midterms and finals. But is what you are dealing with more than just run of the mill school stress? Mount Royal is making an effort to find out.
Mental health issues have previously been a silenced topic, but Mount Royal president David Docherty has started a campus wide initiative to combat the issues affecting students beyond just books.
The initiative is outlined in a 110-page report, put forward by an MRU task force including suggested ideas like brighter study spaces, apps that track student wellness and nurses dedicated to crisis management.
Input on the report was gathered from campus directors, students, faculty and physicians.
This mental health issue is one that affects most families in one way or another. Docherty said on the task force that he knows of the devastating impacts mental health can have on a family personally, and that he understands the importance of finding relief.
MRU Psychology professor Douglas Murdoch feels that the new initiative is a great development but “it is not going to be easy, in light of the cutbacks to advanced education.”
Mount Royal University surveyed students to measure their struggles and the results were on par with other universities around the country. Thirty per cent of Mount Royal students admit to having sleeping problems over the past year, and 15 per cent admit to dealing with depression.
Murdoch described some tactics students can use to improve overall happiness while at school, including, as simple as it may sound, just taking some time to breathe.
“Breathing patterns of anxious individuals are different from those who are not anxious,” he said.
“Learning to breathe for relaxation is a proven method of anxiety control.”
Other tactics were finding balance in your life so that one isn’t focusing on only one thing, taking advantage of the resources provided at school, and taking the time to put things into perspective.
Changes have already begun to take place on campus, starting with a dedicated nurse to help students deal with these issues. On top of that, the plans for new study areas indicate the spaces will be brighter and provide better lighting than previously used.
Students can also take advantage of the free counseling services provided on campus crisis management services by making an appointment by phoning (403) 440-6362.
If you require immediate assistance phone the 24 hour distress centre at (403) 266-HELP (4357). For more information visit the Mount Royal Website at www.mtroyal.ca