Image of Miruthula Queen Anbu

Miruthula Queen Anbu

Teaching Assistant


School of Kinesiology and Health Studies

Miru has always been so amazing with promoting student health and well-being. She starts every class with a mental health check in, which I think is really awesome! She always invites us to email her if we need someone to talk to, and is willing to provide us with any support we may need (ie extensions, breaks from class, etc). Miru is just an incredible woman. Her door is always open to whatever support you may need, whether it's help on an assignment, someone to vent to, or anything else. She prioritizes student mental health by doing check-in's at the start of every class and adjusting her lesson plan accordingly to make sure every student can be successful. Additionally, she is always so open and real about mental health. In short, Miru is an incredible individual who always puts student mental health first while promoting learning.

Miru is an extremely kind and welcoming person, demonstrating genuine care for everyone around her. She is always willing to sit down and help me with my work. Everyday Miru comes to school with positive energy and a smile. She is an amazing mentor, I genuinely could not be where I am today without her unwavering support and guidance. She is incredibly open and honest about her own challenges and her vulnerability makes me feel safe to share about my own struggles. She strongly encouraged me to seek help and directed me towards helpful resources. After seeking those resources, my mental health has significantly improved. I greatly appreciate how Miru always validates my feelings and experiences, I have never met somebody who genuinely cares so much about the mental and physical well being of her friends, peers, students, and strangers. I admire how much she advocates - therapy, seeking help - for mental health everyday and emphasises the importance of self-care.

Miru was a guiding star when I was a new graduate student. She understood the hills and valleys navigating this space as a person of colour, and was proactive in reaching out and asking how I was doing. She has always held space for me to rant, talk, and seek support from her. When notices myself or others working too hard, she always approaches conversations in a gentle and empathetic manner to provide reminders on protecting your mental health and prioritizing ourselves first. She challenges generic ideas of mental health and encourages me to imagine beyond what I see is possible for myself. I see Miru replicate these practices with her students as a TA, greeting students with kindness and empathy and not judgement. Miru's support has made a significant impact on my graduate student experience, she has been a mentor and friend, and I don't know what I would've done without her being here.

Anonymous Students

I'm so grateful that I can share how my definition of mental health has changed since being nominated last year!

To me, mental health is still centred around practicing self-compassion and empathy for ourselves and others. What's expanded for me is noticing that when I'm feeling anxious or unsettled, that it might be a way of my body telling me to move. It's rewriting narratives from thinking that a fast beating heart means I'm anxious, to knowing that perhaps my heart beats so fast because I have something important to say. As well as, recognizing that I come from a South Asian lineage where my ancestors may have not been able to say what they wanted to. Such that, I've been reframing how, in many ways, our bodies try to protect us. As a recurring Champion this year, what I believe mental health to be has shifted to listening to how my body interacts in and around different spaces and people, and practicing more self-awareness. It's about being curious with yourself and giving space for your inner child, teenage self, and other versions of you, to take up space and heal in the present.

It's important to recognize that we meet students where they are. We cannot merely teach about the social determinants of health; we must also find the ways in which our role as educators and staff contribute to the health of our students. As a TA, I've found that being open about my mental health journey and sharing vulnerability has made space for students to be honest about what they're going through. Leading by example and being proactive helps destigmatize the narratives around mental health, helping students to reach out for help. Starting off your classes or tutorials with mental health checkins and enrolling in mental health workshops are great places for educators and staff to start! Using the Mentimeter platform allows students to see that they're not the only person who is feeling a certain way or going through hardships alone. It helps us gauge student's mental health during tutorials, so we can pivot to the way of teaching that suits the energy they can bring today. Even ending your emails off with an encouraging message such as "you've got this" goes a long way.

--- Miruthula Queen Anbu