Less stigma around seeking mental health support on campus, but challenges remain

November 10, 2014

One challenge faced by on-campus mental health support providers is overcoming stigmas that may prevent people from seeking help. Staff at Disability Services for Students at the University of Saskatchewan, however, say that they see signs of growing understanding and acceptance. Maxine Kinakin says disability services now serves 1,258 students, compared to 250 just 13 years ago. More than half of that number are individuals seeking help with a mental health diagnosis, she said. But even as Kinakin has observed “a shift in how we are all working together,” stigmas still remain. She notes that the problem is particularly acute among students studying for the professions, who worry that seeking help may affect how future employers will perceive them. Some students are also concerned about classmates learning of their situation. Kinakin says that uSask helps students find mentors in professional colleges to show them that they are not alone. She also emphasized that students should be aware that accommodations do not give anyone an advantage; rather, they ensure everyone can start from the same place. StarPhoenix