McGill introduces peer tool to combat mental illness
Students helping students improve mental health. It is common for students to feel stress, anxiety, hopeless and overwhelmed, but there is no need for students to try and tackle those problems on their own.
At McGill University, the school’s Mental Health Service launched a new program in the fall called Wellness Recovery Action Planning.
WRAP trains students as facilitators to help other students having difficulty.
Tamara Cassis said she has been able to use her own experiences to help people cope.
“You’re giving kind of a toolbox, and you assemble it the way you want,” said Cassis.
One of those tools is a daily maintenance plan, which is a way of bringing mindfulness, and attentiveness, to a person’s mental state.
“You make a list of what you’re like when you’re well so you have a sense of who you are when you are well and you make a list of things that you should do everyday to maintain that wellness,” said Cassis.
That list can include items as seemingly simple as making sure a kitchen has been tidied before going to bed; a way to tackle problems while they are small so that they remain small.
The director of the Mental Health Service Clinic, Nancy Low, said eight percent of the students at the school will, at some point, seek out help.
That demand is why WRAP was created, in order to give students access to help sooner.
“They have a way to try and fix themselves or adjust their life, understand their environment, that will benefit,” said Low.
“It ends up reducing the symptoms but that’s not what the goal was. It was really to focus on what keeps you well.”
WRAP involves six sessions, each two hours long, and as simple as the process seems many who have gone through the process say they are better able to cope.
One student, who did not want to reveal her name, told CTV that it does work.
“There’s a way out. It might take time, but there is a way,” said the young woman we will call Jenny.
“You know you’re not alone, you aren’t the only one who is feeling a certain way, and telling your story is a relief.”
Jenny said the program helped her so much, she now wants to help others, and has asked to undergo training to become a peer facilitator.
Article retrieved from CTV Montreal News –
Published Friday, January 22, 2016 2:19PM EST