As a psychology professor (and former school psychologist), I talk about mental health issues with students every single day.
My classroom is a safe place for students to be themselves.
Which is critical when working with youth (18-24) who represent the highest proportion of individuals with mental illness.
Education helps bridge the gap between fear and freedom.
And so does an open heart. And an open mind.
I believe in my students. In their potential. In their dreams.
I believe in their ability to overcome challenge, adversity, and self-stigma.
Students need my support and encouragement.
And an educational community that truly cares.
Because self-stigma is real.
And often more silencing than social stigma.
Because sharing our story is one of the scariest and most liberating things we’ll ever do.
Be it about mental illness or another vulnerable part of our lives.
Which is why the best place to open up the conversation about mental illness is to meet students where they are.
These are their words.
Ontario student mental health resources and information ⇒ Visit the Yellow Umbrella Project website.