Mental illness affects every one of us, either directly or through those we love. And it affects people of all ages and walks of life, including members of the UBC community.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Canada for those between the ages of 15 and 24, and the second leading cause of death in the United States for those between the ages of 10 and 19.
And COVID-19 has only made things worse. Since the start of the pandemic, 27 per cent of Canadian post-secondary respondents have contemplated suicide, 30 per cent said they’ve considered quitting school and 29 per cent have considered self-harm. Black, Indigenous, and people of colour in particular have been impacted.
But many students won’t seek help because there is still a stigma around mental illness.
In fact, 62 per cent of young Canadians with mental health issues are reluctant to seek help because of the stigma associated with it. They fear the reactions of their peers, of their professors, of their families. Or they worry that it may impact their academic standing or their career prospects.
Of course, it’s not only students. Faculty and staff are also affected.
That’s why it’s important to talk openly and honestly about mental health.
And that’s why UBC is proud to participate in Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 28. Bell Let’s Talk Day raises funds for mental health initiatives and aims to reduce the stigma around mental illness. You can find out more about Let’s talk Day at letstalk.bell.ca.
UBC is committed to help. We offer a variety of free mental health and wellbeing resources for students and for all members of the UBC community.
Faculty and staff resources are available at hr.ubc.ca/health-and-wellbeing.
We’re committed to fostering an environment where every member of the UBC community can thrive—and that means understanding how to maintain good mental health and where to go for support.
Here are some things we can all do, to help each other and ourselves:
- Be kind: A simple act of kindness can make all the difference for someone who is struggling.
- Listen and ask: One of the hardest things about mental illness is feeling isolated. Because of COVID-19 and physical distancing requirements, isolation is a more common experience than ever before. Take a moment to let someone know you care and you’re here to listen.
- Talk about it: If you’re facing a mental health challenge, talking to someone can help. The path to mental health can start with one conversation. When we share stories about mental illness, we help to reduce its stigma—and pave the way for someone who’s struggling to ask for help.
- Reach out if you need support.
Show that you care, on Bell Let’s Talk Day and every day. Let’s end the stigma.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor