FEBRUARY 3, 2022 | 3
Mental Health Matters • Mental Health Matters • Mental Health Matters • Mental Health Matters SP PO ON NS SO OR RE ED D B BY Y S ST T .. C CL LA A II R R C CO OL LL LE EG GE E S
‘We are always asking, are we doing enough?’ for staff, students KA AR RE EN N PAT PAT O O NN- EVA EVA N NS S K M EE DD II AA CC OO NN TT EE NN TT W W OO RR KK SS PP OO SS TT M
Although students’ students’ mental mental Although health has has long long been been aa priority priority at at health St. Clair Clair College, College, “COVID-19 “COVID-19 tapped tapped St. us on on the the shoulder shoulder and and said said we we us need to to do do more,” more,” observes observes Michael Michael need Silvaggi, associate associate vice vice president, president, Silvaggi, Student Services Services and and registrar. registrar. Student Being in in the the education education sector, sector, Being the college college was was able able to to play play to to its its the strengths. Windsor Windsor and and Chatham Chatham strengths. campuses quickly quickly implemented implemented campuses training programs programs for for faculty, faculty, staff staff training and student student organizations. organizations. Student Student and surveys informed informed improvements improvements to to surveys existing mental services and and existing mental health heath services prompted their their expansion. expansion. StuStuprompted dents are are learning learning about about self-care self-care dents and the the many many ways ways they they access access and help in in the the college. college. help Throughprovincial provincial governThrough government ment funding, “tobeen supplement the funding, “we have able to bring amazing work of our counselling our mental health services more staff,the welimelight have been able bring into over thetopast 18 our mental health services months, letting students knowmore what into the limelight is available,” Silvaggiover says.the past 18 months, letting students is know “One proud achievement our what is available,” says. relationship withSilvaggi the Canadian “One Health proud achievement our Mental Association,isbuilt relationship withyears. the Canadian over the past two We’ve colMental Health Association laborated with them to (CMHA), provide built over the past three years. We’ve onsite counsellors, giving them a collaborated them and to provide home on ourwith Windsor Chatonsite counsellors, giving them ham campuses. It’s another tool ina home on our toolbox,” Windsor and our wellness saysChatham Silvaggi. campuses. toolCMHA in our StudentsIt’s areanother accessing wellness toolbox,” says Silvaggi. counselling online and in person. arepartners accessing TheStudents college also withCMHA Windcounselling and person. sor Regional online Hospital andinother exThe college also partners with Windpert help centres and organizations. sorAcross Regional Hospital and other exthe board, students are not pert help centres and organizations as hesitant in reaching out as they such as Centrethis for were in the theNew past.Canadian Silvaggi chalks Excellence. up to a number of factors. Across the board, studentsmental are not Old stigmas regarding as hesitant in reaching out asFeelthey health are being debunked. were of in the past. Silvaggi chalks this ings isolation sparked by pan-
The deck and pond at St. Clair College’s main campus is an oasis of peace and restfulness.
SUP P LIED
The deck and pond at St. Clair College’s main campus is an oasis of peace and restfulness. SUP P LIED up to a number of factors. port staff, who are often the first ing tools on directing students, and Old restrictions stigmas regarding mental those to receive an email fromexplains. a student mental pathways to get them into care with demic are so prevalent inquiries,” Silvaggi health professionals on camhealth are being debunked. canCollege’s better direct mental on camamong students that peopleFeelare in need, As partso ofthey St. Clair agree- pus andhealth withinprofessionals the community. ings oftalking isolation sparked bytopic. pan- ment those inquiries,” Silvaggi explains.of pusAn and within the community. openly about this hot with CMHA, a manager additional 68 suicide alert demic restrictions so prevalent As part of St. Clair College’s agreeAn additional 68 suicide Unable to interactare in person with student mental health has been in- helpers and 30 suicide first aid alert careamongand students people ment with CMHA, a manager of givers helpershave andbeen 30 suicide first aid carefamily friends,that missing outare on stalled to provide support and contrained to respond. openly talkingnormal about this hot activtopic. givers been trained to respond. the college’s social “If have a student in crisis is preUnable toexperiencing interact in person with “If a student in crisis desk is preities and academic senting at the reception or family andheightened friends, missing out on senting thetoreception desk we or pressures by struggles sends an at email staff or faculty, the college’s normalall social activsendsindividuals an email to staff faculty, we can provide with online learning contribute have whoor ities and in experiencing academic havenext individuals who can provide Silvaggi. “The the steps,” says to a spike students’ calls for help. pressures heightened by struggles the next says ourselves, Silvaggi. “The more westeps,” empower the “We’re receiving emails around withclock,” online learning all“Because contribute more positioned we empower ourselves, better we are to help.”the the Silvaggi says. into a spikehave in students’ calls for help. better positioned are to help.” Three student we associations have dividuals new ways of studying “We’re receiving emails around Three associations have also beenstudent enlisted in the wellness and sometimes study late into the the clock,” says. “Because inalso been enlisted in the wellness movement. The Student Reprenight, theySilvaggi reach out accordingly.” dividuals have new of studying movement.Council The Student Representative in Windsor, Employees are ways also turning to andcollege’s sometimes studyhealth late into the sentative Council Thames Students Inc.ininWindsor, Chatham the mental teams, night, theyfor reach out accordingly.” Thames Inc. in Chatham and the Students Saints Student Athletic looking advice on handling Michael Silvaggi Silvaggi Employees are also turning to Michael and the Saintsrepresenting Student Athletic AsAssociation varsity situations. “We’ve implemented the college’s health teams, sociation representing varsity and and student athletes, meet monthresources formental our faculty and suplooking advice on handling student mental has been in- ly student athletes, meet monthly with senior management. port staff,for who are often the first sultation to staffhealth and faculty, coachsituations. implemented stalled toon provide support and conseniorfeedback management. “Their and advocacy to receive an“We’ve email from a student ing tools directing students, and with resources ourcan faculty anddirect sup- pathways sultation to and faculty, coachfeedback and advocacy significant when it comesare to in need, sofor they better to staff get them into care with are“Their THIS STORY STORY WAS WAS CREATED CREATED BY BY CONTENT CONTENT WORKS, WORKS, POSTMEDIA’S POSTMEDIA’S COMMERCIAL COMMERCIAL CONTENT CONTENT DIVISION, DIVISION, ON ON BEHALF BEHALF OF OF ST. ST. CLAIR CLAIR COLLEGE. COLLEGE. THIS
significant whensupports, it comes to mental mental health ensuring health ensuring we havesupports, toolboxes and kitswe to have help toolboxes with and kits to help students students self-management,” with self-management, ” Silvaggi says. Silvaggi says. Mental health is is embedded in colin Mental health embedded lege orientation exercises. First year college orientation and exercises. students encouraged to access First yearare students are taught the THRIVES - Learning the ToolboxSystem for Help– and THRIVES the Resourcesfor to Increase Value and EmToolbox Help and Resources power Students. THRIVES modules to Increase Value and Empower promote wellness withmodules tips on easing Students. THRIVES prostress wellness and staying motivated chalmote with tips on in easing lengingand times. stress staying motivated in Campus Health challenging times. Services, health insurance To Talk and Campusplans, HealthGood Services, health other provincial alsoand ofinsurance plans, initiatives Good To Talk fer mental healthinitiatives care. other provincial also ofthis pandemic, fer“In mental health care.the provincial government has identified mental “In this pandemic, the provincial health as requiring attention. The government has identified mental Ministry Collegesattention. and Universihealth as of requiring The ties has injected funding specificMinistry of Colleges andtoUniversially has address increasing on ties injected fundingpressure to specificthe mental services we are ally address health increasing pressure on providing,” Silvaggi. the mentalsays health services we are Onsite mental health therapists providing,” says Silvaggi. areOnsite currently seeing three to four mental health therapists students per day in single are currently seeing threesessions to four on Windsor andinChatham camstudents per day single sessions puses. A third of Chatham those students on Windsor and camare international. choose puses. A third of Students those students whether to meet anonymously, faceare international. Students choose to-face ontocampus or live online.facewhether meet anonymously, Almost daily, we are online. seeing reto-face on campus or live quests from our for direction An average of staff two staff per day for their students. are requesting direction for their “We feel a special responsibility students in need. for“We the feel people in ourresponsibility campus coma special munity. We areinalways asking, are for the people our campus comwe doingWe enough?” says asking, Silvaggi.are munity. are always Clairenough?” College is presently preweSt. doing says Silvaggi. paring its College reinvigorated mental St. Clair is presently prehealth strategy. Silvaggi says, “We paring its reinvigorated mental look forward to putting health strategy. Silvaggisomething says, “We on paper this to spring thatsomething will guide look forward putting ourpaper institution goingthat forward.” on this spring will guide information, call 519-966ourFor institution going forward.” 1656 visit stclaircollege.ca. Fororinformation, call 519-966-
1656 or visit stclaircollege.ca.