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Institution and faculty duties in student health & success

One thing we should remember is that we don’t know what anyone is going through in their personal lives. We only see what others allow us to see. 

Sometimes, those who are struggling seem to be okay and well. Although, this is often not the case. Many can hide their inner challenges, and some cannot.

Reminders …

Students may be balancing jobs, school, and other personal matters that can be overwhelming. They may not be as “well” as they appear. As a faculty member, assuming that students are okay because they “seem” okay is not always correct. 

As rates of depression, anxiety and mental health challenges rise, it is crucial to support today’s students. After all, these are the young individuals that will be the leaders and CEOs in the future. 

School is one of the most pressuring periods. Aiming to succeed academically while remaining financially and mentally stable is expensive, time consuming and overwhelming.

Mental illness among students

40% of respondents to a 2016 survey agreed they have experienced feelings of anxiety or depression but never sought medical help for it.

Cahm, Mental Illness and Addiction: Facts and Statistics

This 2016 National College Health Assessment reported on student feelings and mental health. Here are their results:

Nearly 45 percent of students reported feeling so depressed that they had difficulty functioning. 65 percent experienced overwhelming anxiety.

Moira Farr, University Affairs (2018)

13 percent had seriously considered suicide. 8.7 percent had self-harmed.

Moira Farr, University Affairs (2018)

Slightly over 11 percent had been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety and depression.

Moira Farr, University Affairs (2018)

Reaching out for help

The ratio between students that have reported on depression and anxiety versus those who were properly treated is an obvious gap. 

This could be due to the lack of knowledge on how and when to reach out for mental health help. If you are struggling with mental health, please feel welcome to read our blog post “Student wellness: asking for help” for information on how to find support. 

As faculty members, you see hundreds of students everyday. As professors, you have access to student assignments, test scores, submission dates and grades. It is understandable that you won’t immediately see that students may be struggling on an internal level.

Whether you’re a parent or faculty member, you’ve been a student before. If you aren’t currently a student, think back to when you were. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would you want your professors to have insight into “why” you are underperforming, rather than just seeing that you aren’t doing well?
  • Was/is there a time where overwhelming stress and anxiety take over, but you didn’t ask for help?
  • Would you feel encouraged to discuss your mental health if a faculty member/professor asked if you were okay?
  • Have you reached out for help at school and had to wait because the counselor/tutor/professor wasn’t available for days/weeks?

Did you know …

Post-secondary institutions are struggling to keep up with their students and mental health issues. Counselors are booked quickly and students are left without help for days and/or weeks at a time. 

Being a student, I know this is true from experience. Our schools are the only resource of “free” counselling. Reaching out into our schools’ external therapists is also difficult. Even covered under insurance, I would have still had to pay hundreds of dollars per semester to see a psychologist. 

This creates a deeper issue as thousands of students are left without proper help. This results in decreasing GPAs, lower attendance, low motivation and other traits of depression/anxiety. 

Some students are slipping through the cracks due to long waits for treatment and a lasting stigma associated with mental health issues.

Katie Reilly, TIME (2018)

When students reach out, they’re forced to wait for treatment due to unavailability. This cycle results in further destruction from mental health being left untreated, for an increasing number of students. As a result, more students are reaching out and institutions cannot keep up.

The bigger picture

While students are not properly treated, they either still succeed with results lower than their potential or drop/fail out. For those who do graduate, however, it is hard to measure how much their mental health has declined from insufficient treatment. As a result, their cycle continues into work and adulthood.

Only about half of Canadians experiencing a major depressive episode receive ‘‘potentially adequate care.’’

Cahm, Mental Illness and Addiction: Facts and Statistics

Unemployment rates are as high as 70% to 90% for people with the most severe mental illnesses.

Cahm, Mental Illness and Addiction: Facts and Statistics

Those who do graduate could still be in a negative, deteriorating mental health state. This STILL will not be treated as they lose the (limited) free counselling from their College/University and most likely cannot afford therapists. 

Treating mental illness of any form is crucial for students, while they’re still learning, growing and in school. The long-term results of anxiety and depression must be reduced to a minimum while it is possible to do so.

How can Motify help?

Motify integrates with post-secondary institutions to connect students to their professors. This provides teachers with insight towards students who are underperforming or at risk of failing, and possible reasons why.

Girl with breakdown of her life

Motify makes some student information accessible to teachers. For example, if a student is underperforming, their professor can view their GPA and other data such as work hours and stress. As a result, professors can reach out, rather than expecting students to always ask for help first. 

Motify removes the obstacle that many students are scared to, don’t know how, or don’t want to reach out by giving teachers the ability to do so.

Interested in learning more?

Motify is looking for students, institutions, employers and mentors to register for our demo version. We want to provide students with the best student success tool, so your feedback is needed!

If you’re interested in learning more about how Motify benefits these groups, please follow these links according to your role:

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