Thinking Ahead: University & Your Mental Health

Posted by Megan on April 16, 2014

Journey to the Centre of York

Good afternoon Readers!

Today’s post is all about YOUR mental health and experiencing university. Mental health is one of the, if not the MOST important facet of yourself. We all come from different pasts with different life experiences and different biological builds. Some of us have had fleeting experiences with mental health crisis while others of us (like myself) have to actively manage our conditions in order to to maintain health, happiness, and pursue success. Some days can be harder than others but we aren’t alone (1/5 individuals have had a brush with mental health struggles) and York has a ton of amazing resources that can be taken advantage of.

Text reads 'Everybody else seems so happy and normal. I wish I wasn't the only person with mental health issues.'

Scenario #1 – You have an existing mental health diagnosis and you aren’t sure how York can help support you.

If you have an existing condition and documentation to support that (example – having a diagnosis from your doctor or other health professional), York can offer you a variety of accommodations.

First, you must register by filling out a two part registration package which can be found here. You will need to give part of the package to your medical professional and you will also be responsible for filling out a questionnaire. The questions you will cover include general information, your education experiences leading up to York, your goals, your current treatment and support, etc.

Once this package has been completed you can either drop it off in room N110 in Bennett Centre on campus, or you can fax it to them at 416 736 5633. Once they review your information they will set up an intake appointment to see how they can best help you. There are a wide variety of accommodations they can make for you, so please ensure that you take this step. You will also be eligible to apply for a bursary – the BSWD which you can read more about here.

Scenario #2 – Whether it be from the stress of transitioning from high school to university, something stressful in your life, or any other possible situation… you think you might be suffering from a new mental health condition and you aren’t sure what to do.

The first thing I would recommend would be to visit the on-campus health clinic which is located in York Lanes. They have doctors with specializations with mental health so you can call 647 7222 2370 or drop in in person to get an appointment.  A second option would be to walk in which you should absolutely do if you feel you need to get in faster than you can book an appointment- you can get in from anywhere within 10 minutes to around an hour for a pure walk in.

Beyond that, I always recommend that you set yourself up with York’s free counselling services. While your doctor might give you a prescription to treat your condition, sometimes that is not enough. Sometimes it also takes a number of weeks before the medication kicks in and in this case counselling can help you manage your symptoms and provide an avenue for you to share your feelings and concerns in a healthy manner. York’s CDS offers personal counselling, group/couples counselling, and even some workshops. You can call 416 736 5297 or drop in to N110 Bennett to set up an appointment. You will first meet with an intake counsellor who will speak with you and review the questionnaire that you will fill out just prior to entering the room with them. From there they will assign you to a counsellor which can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a bit longer than that, which is more reason to jump on this instead of holding off. You can read more about personal counselling services here. You can also read about MY experience with York’s CDS. Part 1 here, part 2 here.

Scenario#3 – Something happened and you need help RIGHTNOW.

First things first. Stop. Take a deep breath, holding it in for 7 seconds, as deeply as you can. Then breath out, pushing for 11. Try to do this for at least a couple of minutes or until you feel grounded.

A GIF of the 7-11 breathing exercise.
7-11 breathing. Read more about this great technique at

Next – you aren’t alone. No matter what happened, no matter how bad you are feeling, you aren’t alone. I’ve been there. I’ve known people that have been there. We all have different experiences but there are a number of us that have been in a position of crisis, no matter what led to that point, and that’s what joins us together. You matter, you are worth getting help, and you can and will get better if you reach out. Life will get better.

Now depending on your degree of crisis, there are a number of different options for you. York’s CDS also offers walk in crisis counselling so you can come in at any time from 9 am to 4:30 pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday or 9 am to 7 pm on Tuesday for this service. It is also 100% free. You can just go up to the desk in room N110 and ask for crisis  counselling and they will know exactly what to do.

If you are in crisis outside of their hours, there are still a number of resources available to you, depending on what you feel you need.

If you feel you are in danger of hurting yourself or others or if you are having suicidal thoughts:

  • You can call the police at 911
  • You can call York Security at extension 33333 (if you are phoning from your own phone dial 416 732 2100 first)
  • You can call the Community Crisis Response Program 416 498 0043

Other options that might be less stressful or anxiety producing to you include:

  • The Assaulted Women’s Helpline 416 863 0511
  • Also or their phone number 1 866 925 5454

For a list of other resources, please check the crisis page of York’s CDS. Again, please remember that you aren’t alone and that you aren’t making a ‘bother’ for anyone. Feeling like you are in crisis is one aspect of being human and these resources are here for you to use.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="320"]An image reads 'No. you aren't alone. Yes. We all feel this way sometimes. No. You won't always feel like this. Yes. The world is a better place with you in it.' It doesn’t get more true than this.

Scenario #4 – Whether from experiencing mental health difficulties or watching others go through it, you want to get involved.

York provides a number of great ways to get involved in the area of Mental Health.

You can apply to Health Ed and their Mental Health & Stress Team (I believe they open up for applications each February to March).

You can also look at a variety of clubs and associations on campus that tackle Mental Health from a number of diverse ways by checking out YU Connect.

A hand holds up a note that reads 'You are not alone.' with a small heart.

Comments, questions, concerns? Sound off below and I will do my best to answer and direct you as needed 🙂




Megan is a third-year Psychology student. Follow her on her journey of self-development as she explores and ventures through campus.

See other posts by Megan