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Mental Health Report Graduate Architecture Landscape and Design Student Union Mental Health Initiative


ABOUT THIS REPORT

This survey and report were prepared by Joël León (M.Arch 3) Roxanna Lilova (M.Arch 3) Jocelyn Squires (M.Arch 2) Alex Daros (Department of Psychology)

On behalf of GALDSU Executive Council Doug Robb, President Joël León, Vice-President Emily Ross, Secretary Sugra Panvelwala, Treasurer David Whyte, Social Chair Brie Smith, Health and Sustainability Officer

This report presents the results of the Graduate Architecture Landscape and Design Student Union (GALDSU)’s first mental health survey reflecting on the student experience at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. This survey was developed in collaboration with a doctoral candidate of the Department of Psychology of the University of Toronto as part of GALDSU’s Mental Health Initiative. The survey was distributed electronically on December 4, 2013 and closed on December 24, 2013; results were processed during the months of January and February 2014 by student volunteers. Due to lack of access to the listserv for the Master of Visual Studies program the results fail to include the newest program at Daniels. The information in this report is based on the response of 98 students. We hope this report will serve as a starting point to discuss how mental health can be improved in our unique academic environment.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY We feel the Faculty is not doing enough. The vast majority of students do not feel the Faculty’s administration is doing enough to address the mental health needs of students.

Student apathy is a serious problem. While this survey got among the highest student participation in a voluntary GALDSU activity, the reality is many students are apathetic towards the Daniels community.

We lead unhealthy lives.

Respondents to the survey admitted to having irregular sleep schedules, regularly skipping meals, and rarely exercising. All these factors contribute to unhealthy habits that are perpetuated within the culture of our programs.

The disorganization really gets to us.

Over half of us have considered quitting.

The last two weeks of studio are incredibly toxic.

While workload was singled out as the number one stress factor in the Faculty, negative interaction with Faculty members and the perceived disorganization of the administration were among the highest causers of stress among respondents.

A sobering discovery of our survey is that over half of the respondents have considered quitting the program, many of them multiple times throughout their graduate education.

Anxious, nervous, frightened, worried, grouchy, irritable, angry, depressed, down, hopeless, distant. This is what most students admit to feeling more than half of the days during the last two weeks of studio.

We are split between working at home or working at studio. A series of factors, mainly environmental such as noise level, air quality, limited number of computers, and lack of working space make studio an unattractive place to work in.

Campus resources are underutilized. The majority of students do not take advantage of the numerous resources on campus, mainly because they are not aware that they exist.

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DEMOGRAPHICS AND PARTICIPATION

Introduction

Summary of Results

This section collects some of the main demographic information of the respondents to our survey, and it is meant to be used by the Faculty to compare it to the actual demographics of our student body (unavailable to GALDSU) in order to ensure the data properly reflects our constituents.

Unfortunately, student apathy continues to be prevalent at Daniels, particularly in the lower years of the programs. However, it must also be noted that the level of participation is this survey is among the highest levels of student participation in a voluntary activity organized by GALDSU. It is our firm belief that any action taken as a result of this survey will further increase student participation in future endeavours and helps improve the overall comradery among students at Daniels.

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Participation MUD

Who completed our survey?

(2%)

MLA (20%) MARC 1

MARC 2

(4%)

MARC 3

(24%)

MARC 4

(23%)

(40%)

MARC (76%) Distribution of respondents by program

MUD (7%)

MLA 1

MLA 2

(15%)

MLA 3

(12%)

MUD 1

(41%)

(28%)

MLA (24%)

MARC (69%)

MUD 2

VIS 1

VIS 2

(0%)

(no access to listserv)

(no access to listserv)

Distribution of students by program according to GALDSU’s listserv

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Demographics Commute Time

Age of Respondents # of respondents

18%

53%

7%

22

22%

0

5

10

15

20

23 24 25 less than 10 minutes

11 - 30 minutes

31 - 60 minutes

60+ minutes

26

average

27 28 29

Cohabitants

30

# of respondents 5 Alone

10

15

20

25

30

31

0

32

Parents/siblings

33

Partner, not married

34

Married partner

35 36

Roommate/roommates

Relatives

Age

37 38

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DAILY LIFE Introduction

Summary of Results

The following section summarizes some aspects of the daily lives of students at Daniels. Four main categories were explored: sleeping habits (including all-nighters), physical activity, eating habits, and social life.

67% of respondents did not believe they had regular sleeping schedules, although most students seem to be getting among 6 to 8 hours of sleep on average. It should be noted however that a sizable group also stated to only be getting between 4 to 6 hours of sleep on average.

The following legend applies to all stacked bar graphs in this section. Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree or Disagree Disagree

A majority of students admitted to often pulling all-nighters to finish projects on time. Students also admitted to often skipping meals and rarely exercising.

Strongly Disagree

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Sleep Sleeping Habits

All-Nighters

I have a regular sleep schedule.

I often pull all-nighters to finish a project.

28%

39%

14%

Strongly Disagree

14%

4%

Strongly Agree

60

17%

50 40 30

12%

34%

Strongly Disagree

26%

Strongly Agree

How many all-nighters have you done this semester? Number of respondents

Number of respondents

How many hours of sleep do you get on average?

8%

50

40

30

20

20 10

10 0

0

<2

2-4

4-6

6-8

8 - 10

Hours of sleep

> 10

0-2

3-5

6-10 11-15 16-20 21-25 26-30 Other

Number of all-nighters

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Physical Activity

Other Aspects I often skip meals.

I engage in regular physical activity. 20%

45%

14%

15%

Strongly Disagree

5%

Strongly Agree

How many hours per week do you exercise?

7%

12%

18%

33%

27%

Strongly Disagree

Strongly Agree

How often do you go out per week for entertainment?

80

Number of respondents

Number of respondents

(e.g. dinner, movies, get-together, social stuff!)

70 60 50 40

60 50 40 30

30 20

20 10

10 0

0

0-2

2-4

4-6

6-8

Hours of exercise

8-10

>10

0

1

2

3-5

>5

Outings per week 9


FACILITIES Introduction & Methodology

Summary of Results

For this section we have grouped all questions which relate to the use of particular spaces at Daniels. This section helps us better understand how people feel about the Facultyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s physical infrastructure and what aspects need to improve in order to support a stronger studio culture.

Respondents show that students are split on the benefits of working at home vs. working at studio, with answers split almost evenly between those who prefer to work at home, those who prefer to work at studio, and those who are indifferent. Students indicate among the leading challenges for working at studio the noise level, air quality, stressful atmosphere, lack of working space, limited number of computers available at the lab, and lack of inexpensive and readily available food options within the building. Other aspects that were highlighted include lack of quiet spaces and the dirtiness of studio spaces.

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average = 47

students

How many hours a week would you say you spend at the architecture building? 20

15

10

0

5

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

hours spent in studio

I prefer to work at home instead of studio

Strongly disagree (11%)

Disagree (21%)

Neither agree or disagree (32%)

Agree (20%)

Strongly agree (16%)

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Do you find any challenges working at the faculty studio on campus?

problem area

Physical Space security elevator ZLÄş overcrowding lack of in-house athletic facilities lack of space to work squirrels restrooms dirtiness/messiness use of toxins/chemicals distance from home lack of space for food storage/preparation expense and availability of food lack of quiet space/break space lack of private space for phone calls

Atmosphere stressful atmosphere air quality lack of control over temperature large amount of time spent in building Lack of comfort in work areas unpleasant or toxic odours unpleasant lighting noisy unhealthy studio culture competition distractions

Production Facilities SORWWHUVEURNHQLQVXIÄşFLHQWLQQXPEHU lack of plugs not enough computers in lab lack of appropriate software lack of support for technical problems toxic smells from laser cutters not enough laser cutters assembly room has too few tools 0

5

10

15

20 # of comments

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STUDENT EXPERIENCE Introduction & Methodology

Summary of Results

This section is composed of a series of questions concerning the student experience at Daniels. The questions range from general feelings about the program to understanding the experience of the pin-up and review.

Workload is by far the number one cause of stress among respondents, followed by lack of organization from the Faculty, coinciding deadlines, and negative interactions with members of the Faculty.

For several of the questions we asked students to provide comments without previous categorization. We have gone through the lengthy list of comments in order to extract their principle ideas. The resulting graphs and word clouds help us understand the main issues facing the faculty today.

Most alarming, over half of the respondents had considered quitting the program at some point of their graduate degree. In what regards pinups and reviews, respondents offered a wide variety of responses ranging from extremely positive to extremely negative.

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2WKHU)DFWRUV ODFNRIVOHHS SUHSDUHGQHVVIRUWKHMREPDUNHW GLIĺFXOW\PDLQWDLQLQJIULHQGVKLSVUHODWLRQVKLSV time management not stressful at all other 0

5

10

15

20

# of comments 14


Pin-ups and Reviews On a scale from 1 (not at all stressed) to 10 (extremely stressed), how stressed do you feel before a review?

On a scale from 1 (not at all anxious) to 10 (extremely anxious), how anxious do you feel before a review?

Stressed

anxious

Not Stressed 0

5

10

15

20

Not Anxious 25

30

0

5

10

15

20

25

# of respondents

# of respondents

Overall, how would you rate the experience of a pin-up or review? (1=Very Negative; 10 = Very Positive) Very Negative

Very Positive 0

5

10

15

20

25

30

# of respondents

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Pin-ups and Reviews In one word (or a few more), how would you describe your feelings after you finish a pin-up or review?

great

stimulus

judgment

relief

frustration superficial

sleepy uninformed unfulfilled

rewarding

thrilled

+

overjoyed

encouraging

relaxed

accomplished happy energetic

lack of accomplishment

enlightened

Informative

confident elation

laughable

lackluster flat

uncertain

anticlimatic

confused

inspiration useful satisfied freedom clarity

constructive

trashed shame nauseous

fatigue

mocking

tired

dehumanized

drained

-

guilt

anxiety

stress

empowered essential awesome

waste of time

irrelevant

engaged

excited

horrible humiliated

demoralized

disappointment

depressed embarrassing

discouraged melancholy

exhausted

quit not beneficial

not rewarding

eager

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Have you ever considered quitting the program?

NO (47%)

yes (53%)

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FINAL STUDIO SNAPSHOT Introduction

Summary of Results

The following section presents how students felt during the final two weeks of studio in December 2013. The following introduction was placed before beginning the questions in this section.

A majority of students claimed to feel anxious, nervous, frightened, worried or on edge during most these two weeks. Many also reported feeling grouchy, irritable, angry, depressed, down or hopeless during the majority of this period.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The questions below ask about behaviors or feelings that might have bothered you recently. For each question, click on the option that best describes how much (or how often) you have been bothered by each problem during the PAST TWO (2) WEEKS. â&#x20AC;?

Students also admitted to avoiding situations that make them anxious, feeling panic, having unexplained aches and pains, having problems sleeping, and not feeling as close to other people.

For each question we have produced a pie graph to visualize how frequently students identify with a specific feeling or behavior. The following legend applies to all the pie graphs in this section. The darker the graph, the more people reported it. Nearly everyday More than half the days Several days Less than a day or two None at all

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A Snapshot of How We Feel During the Final Studio Rush Nearly everyday

More than half the days

Several days

Little interest or pleasure in doing things

Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?

Starting lots more projects than usual or doing more risky things than usual?

Unexplained aches and pain (e.g., head, back, joints, abdomen, legs)?

Less than a day or two

None at all

Feeling more irritated, grouchy, or angry than usual?

Sleeping less than usual, but still have a lot of energy?

Feeling nervous, anxious, frightened, worried, or on edge?

Feeling panic or being frightened?

Avoiding situations that make you anxious?

Feeling that your illnesses are not being taken seriously enough?

Thoughts of actually hurting yourself?

Hearing things other people couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hear, such as voices even when no one was around?

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A Snapshot of How We Feel During the Final Studio Rush Nearly everyday

More than half the days

Several days

Less than a day or two

None at all

Feeling that someone could hear your thoughts, or that you could hear what another person was thinking?

Problems with sleep that affected your sleep quality over all?

Problems with memory (e.g., learning new information) or with location (e.g., finding your way home)?

Unpleasant thoughts, urges, or images that repeatedly enter your mind?

Feeling driven to perform certain behaviours or mental acts over and over again?

Feeling detached or distant from yourself, your body, your physical surroundings, or your memories?

Not knowing who you really are or what you want out of life?

Not feeling close to other people or enjoying your relationships with them?

Drinking at least 4 drinks of any kind of alcohol in a single day?

Smoking any cigarettes, a cigar, or pipe or using snuff or chewing tobacco?

Using any medicines without a doctorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s permission, in a greater amounts than prescribed, or drugs

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CAMPUS RESOURCES Introduction

Summary of Results

For this section we asked students about their use of different resources available to them at the University of Toronto. We also asked them if they believed the administration of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design was doing enough to address mental health.

Overall, most students (61%) do not feel the Faculty is doing enough to address mental health. Only 3% of students believe the Faculty is doing enough to address our mental health needs. Many of the campusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resources are underutilized by students at our faculty, most likely because they do not know they exist.

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Do you feel the faculty does enough to address mental health?

yes (3%)

MAYBE (36%)

NO (61%)

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Have you personally used any of the following services available to UofT students?

Campus Medical Centre (29%)

Counselling and Psychological Services (17%)

Grief Support (1%)

Assault Counselling

Sexual & Gender Diversity Office

Accessibility Services (8%)

Family Care Office

Sexual Harrassment Office

None (41%)

Prefer not to answer (3%) 23

Mental Health Report 2013-2014  

A report summarizing the results of the Union's first mental health survey of graduate students at the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, a...

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