Paul is supportive of my well-being and is always encouraging me when I feel down. He's provided me with lots of helpful advice relating to my career and made me feel I was good enough to find my dream job. As someone who experiences a lot of self-doubt and stress from my program, I always feel calm after talking to him about my problems.
When I think of mental health, the concept that comes to mind is "engagement." I think mental health means we are engaged with all elements of our lives. It doesn't mean that things are easy or smooth or without challenge. Rather, it means we have the resourcefulness and resilience to be engaged in life across various elements including academics, work, family, community etc.
I thinks it's fundamental that staff and educators remind themselves to look beyond their particular lens and endeavour to see students across the context of their broader lives. We have a temptation to only look within the parameters of our specific function or area of expertise. As a career coach, my interaction with students not only encompasses their specific career-related questions and concerns, but situates these with the larger context of the student's life that includes academics, social life, family etc.
It's great to see more attention and emphasis on mental health across campus. It's important we work together as a community to reduce stigma and encourage people to reach out for assistance and support. It's also important that we all continue to advocate for additional resources and services.
--- Paul Bowman