Mental illness: Reducing Stigma and Promoting Help-Seeking at University

Charu Jaiswal, York University

I want to target first-year university students that are, you know, transitioning from high school, they’re experiencing a lot of stress.

It’s essentially a mental illness anti-stigma campaign.

So my idea was to implement upper year students in their third or fourth year that have maybe suffered from a mental illness but have sought help, have benefited from a service, and now they can advocate.

I would have them come and speak at the first year orientations.

The upper year students are like role models. So I think a first-year student would look up to the older students and say “well, you know, they’ve benefited from the service — there’s nothing wrong with seeking help.”

Mental illness is really prevalent and it’s an invisible disability because, you know, you can’t necessarily see it; it can be hidden, and that also prevents people from seeking help.

But I think it’s important to promote help-seeking and have them, you know, performing at their best.