Here at The Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench, together with our partner schools, we’ve been working hard to connect students suffering from stress, anxiety, and/or depression with available on- and off-campus mental health resources.

We know that too many students are suffering in silence and, according to a recent study by The Centre of Addiction and Mental Health, almost 30% of Canadian students surveyed report that they did “not know where to turn when seeking mental health support.

Clearly our mission is on-target. However, for today’s #mentalhealthmonday post we want to look at the support we provide students who aren’t experiencing stress, anxiety, and/or depression.   Do those students not also need some mental health support? If not support, then possibly some prevention effort

I was asked recently by a parent, whose child is a high school senior, what he should be doing to support his daughter’s mental health?

They speak about mental health and the importance to keep that line of communication open but should she be speaking with a support counselor given that the stress she’ll face will undoubtedly grow as she prepared for university applications, moving away from home, etc

  • Identify and record where and with whom mental health support services are available
  • Identify what other support you may need – be it homework, finances, friendship, etc. – then identify and meet up with available on-campus support services
  • Schedule an appointment with on-campus mental health counselors in the first few weeks of school. If a one-on-one conversation with a counselor is not available right away, look for drop-in centres or group meeting.  Don’t wait until there’s a real need because in many cases, it may be too late.

It’s also a good idea to check in with other support services/student services. For example, many schools offer personnel, tools, or drop in centres for time management help, financial support, mentorship programs, etc.

These are all excellent tools that help students understand what pressures they may face in school – before the face them – and to establish coping mechanisms and resiliency that will surely prevent some of the anxiety and stress most students feel as they progress through their academic careers.

The oft (and maybe overused) idiom “an ounce of prevention is worth is worth a pound of cure” is very applicable here.  Many students visit the dentist regularly, despite not having a cavity; many students visit the doctor for annual checkups, despite not having a known physical disease.

Why shouldn’t students visit a mental health (or other student service) support personnel regularly, despite not having a recognized mental health concern?

Look up your high school, college or university’s student services and make the appointment.