News   Jul 12, 2024
 1.6K     0 
News   Jul 12, 2024
 1.2K     1 
News   Jul 12, 2024
 446     0 

Mental health support for post-secondary students

AlbertC

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
22,644
Reaction score
61,597
Location
Davenport
Paramedics confirm death at Bahen Centre

Emergency services evacuated building

By Andy Takagi
on September 27, 2019

At 6:26 pm today, Toronto Paramedic Services received a call from the Bahen Centre for Information Technology, where paramedics confirmed a death at the scene. Emergency services were dispatched to St. George Street, where police evacuated and cordoned off the building.

This is the third death in the Bahen Centre over the past two years.

In an email to The Varsity, the University also confirmed the death.

Vice-Provost Students Sandy Welsh wrote, “We mourn the loss of our student, and we are here to support our community.”

 
Not sure what issues here may be specific to Bahen; I've heard the references but not seen a clear pic............so I can't comment intelligently on that particular issue.

In the broader issue of mental health. I am sympathetic to students, or anyone else having a mental health crisis.

I do support more comprehensive access to mental health supports, for people of all ages, though the healthcare system.

That said; I'm loathe to join the pile-on of the University of Toronto, on this one; absent more facts coming to light.

I appreciate some people being upset that University wasn't more vocal about past suicides; but that would have been normative policy for decades; and not without some merit in as much as its
a deeply personal event for those closest to the person who took their life and not all will want it broadcast to the world.

Perhaps they can/should have done more; but I'm hesitant to go there without meaningful evidence.

While I think its important that the University (and employers and spouses etc etc. ) not endlessly heap pressure on others with whom they interact.

Neither do I think it is reasonable to expect a pressure-free environment; and indeed I do worry, if in fact suicides are becoming more prevalent that this may, in some way, be the result of lack of exposure to pressure previously.

Thereby depriving the person of an ability to cope; or to recognize when they can't and adjust accordingly.

Subject to info provided by others, I really don't know that the above applies in this case; and it makes me no less sympathetic to the person who felt the need to end their life and to those they left behind.

But I would prefer to see a bit less blame-throwing on so personal a matter; and a little more focus on the family first; and then a responsible postmortem on what, if anything could or should be done different.
 
Last edited:
Neither do I think it is reasonable to expect a pressure-free environment; and indeed I do worry, if in fact suicides are becoming more prevalent that this may, in some way, be the result of lack of exposure to pressure previously.
There will always be people who won't make the cut, can't meet expectations and will be lost. It's a brutal world out there, some will make it, some won't. We all die regardless, which is why I disagree with the term "saving life", when you're extending life.

One thing I remind my daughters of about suicide, and I think it's important in this era where suicidal talk is normalized, where 13 Reasons Why and other shows/vids suggest that suicide will "show them"...etc. What I tell my daughters is that those who kill themselves are quickly forgotten, life goes on, it stops for no one, the dead person's friends carry on with their lives. That 13 Reasons show was ridiculous, where in truth those obsolete tapes would have been lost, tossed out, taped over, opened out of sequence or just ignored by their recipients. There is only one person to blame for one's suicide, themselves, and it's unfair to assign blame to those you think wronged you.

Perhaps the UofT can reduce suicides by culling the weaker students from their admissions? Mental and emotional strength is just as important as academic strength in gaining success in university.
 
Last edited:
There will always be people who won't make the cut, can't meet expectations and will be lost. It's a brutal world out there, some will make it, some won't. We all die regardless, which is why I disagree with the term "saving life", when you're extending life.

One thing I remind my daughters of about suicide, and I think it's important in this era where suicidal talk is normalized, where 13 Reasons Why and other shows/vids suggest that suicide will "show them"...etc. What I tell my daughters is that those who kill themselves are quickly forgotten, life goes on, it stops for no one, the dead person's friends carry on with their lives. That 13 Reasons show was ridiculous, where in truth those obsolete tapes would have been lost, tossed out, taped over, opened out of sequence or just ignored by their recipients. There is only one person to blame for one's suicide, themselves, and it's unfair to assign blame to those you think wronged you.

Perhaps the UofT can reduce suicides by culling the weaker students from their admissions? Mental strength is just as important as academic strength in gaining success in university.

You seriously think that people get depression only because they are weak? It is good for people to die from suicide? You're a dumbass.
 
You're a dumbass.
Ok. Sorry I triggered you.

Plenty of organizations cull applicants that show tendencies of not being able to take the mental and emotional burden of what's being asked of them. Airlines for example test for and cull out anyone with depression, https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=20455.

University is hard, and some programs such as engineering and medicine are especially so, being intended to vigorously push its students to beyond their breaking point so that only the small number of excellent students succeed. Under such conditions there's nothing wrong with a university considering the mental as well as academic capacities of their applicants. This alone may reduce campus suicides.
 
Last edited:
While it's a complex issue, I fully agree with Admiral Beez here. We as a society have become accustomed to assigning blame to everyone except oneself. There is no longer introspection or soul-searching to see if the stress is caused internally (often it is). Maybe the program is not suited for them. Maybe the university or the program is not for them. As a culture, we have pushed people that it's university or bust. This is completely assinine. There are plenty of jobs that don't require university. There are trades, there are jobs that require a college diploma.

Could the university do more? Of course. They could provide more support options, and perhaps career/program counseling. However, at which point do we have to say that the person has to be comfortable asking for help. How would a university of 60K+ students know who needs help? In some cases, if a professor or TA speaks to a student and sees some signs, they could reach out or offer suggestions. It's very difficult to see the signs. Depression is mostly invisible unless you know the person. Suicidal thoughts are not present.

In my view, we need to fix the primary education system to teach kids that failure is possible and in fact a positive thing in life that should be taken as a life lesson. Teach kids in high school on what programs are best for t them and show them how competitive they are. Not everyone is competitive or aggressive. So if kids got the right attention and guidance in high school, they would be better off in university.
 
.
Enough is enough, this is an emergency: U of T must immediately address its mental health crisis
These aren't children, they're young adults. I'm not sure what level of responsibility falls unto the university to manage the mental health of its students. I went to Carleton University from 1991 to 1995 and I recall several suicides of students during that time, at least one or two a year. I recall at those times that we shrugged our shoulders, made the morbid jokes about the automatic A-grades the surviving roommates were believed to receive, and carried on. I certainly don't recall any demands for the university to address or own the issue of student suicides.

Back to now, something has happened to today's young adults, but they seem far less capable of dealing with the regular demands of adult life. If they can't take the demands of academics, how will they withstand being in the workforce, making rent, presenting and defending their ideas to decision makers and influencers, and how will they react when the sh#t hits the fan in life or work or both? There is only one person responsible for each suicide, the committing person. The rest of us are just carrying on with our own sh#t as best we can.
 
The Admiral can sometimes express himself in a manner that grates, LOL

However, I do stand by the substance of what he's saying here; I do think we need to have better mental health supports, through the regular healthcare system available; but I don't see any evidence of negligence in that regard by the University.

Obviously, it needs to be said, none of us know the circumstances of these suicides (so far as I know) meaning we don't know that academics/pressure was the driving force. It may have been; and if so, I think that weighs on how the student was prepared for this experience by their parents/high school etc. including being told that its ok to realize that program isn't for you after all.

But it may well be that one or more of these suicides is about something personal (romance gone wrong, family difficulties, physical/mental health issues unrelated to school etc.) We simply don't know. Sadly there are many tragedies and pressures that can make life difficult to bare for any of us; and not all of us are or can be prepared to deal with it.

That doesn't make the consequence any less tragic; its ok to be sad/upset at the loss of a friend/fellow student, while realizing there may not have been any easy answer to prevent such an outcome.
 
The Admiral can sometimes express himself in a manner that grates, LOL
It is something I need to work on, granted. I often feel like a dinosaur in these modern "progressive" days of embracing everyone's specialness, where everyone seems to be diagnosed with anxiety, where fault or blame lay more in the perceived injustices and circumstances of ones life than in the choices one makes. But I can't even put that into words that don't sound condescending. My teenage kids, thoroughly indoctrinated by the state have an entirely different language than I do. I'll keep working on it.

I'm a student of history, and try to see today's world of anxious, depressed and debilitated young adults so unable to be tested by regular life through the eyes of our ancestors, where young adults captained ships, fought in wars, built industry, survived genocide and famine. Given what man has accomplished and overcome, to see people killing themselves because of school stress seems incredible. Something has changed from my Gen X comrades to today's young adults. Is it the inter-connectivity of computers and social media, is it that today we measure ourselves against our perception of others, rather than being satisfied that we've met our own personal measure, IDK.

But is it the University of Toronto's job to prevent suicides of its students? Legally, admitting students that would have been measurably unable to accomplish the course work, thus setting them up for failure and triggering suicidal-thoughts in those prone to depression, could put the UofT into the realm of culpability. I thus suggest the UofT and all universities conduct not only academic strength assessments, but emotional/mental assessments when choosing candidates for their intense programs like computer science. Students that do not pass the emotional/mental assessments can be steered to less intense programs or with supports in place.

In the USA, universities with intense, high demand programs are beginning to test for Emotional Intelligence in their admissions process in order to weed-out those who may have the academic credentials but not the emotional/mental stamina. Per Wikipedia, EI is "positively correlated with: better psychological well-being - Emotional intelligence is positively correlated with higher life satisfaction, self-esteem and lower levels of insecurity or depression." But this study suggests it doesn't work, so IDK.
 
Last edited:
Article from The Guardian, analyzing this from the UK's perspective:

‘The way universities are run is making us ill’: inside the student mental health crisis

A surge in anxiety and stress is sweeping UK campuses. What is troubling students, and is it the universities’ job to fix it?

By Samira Shackle
Fri 27 Sep 2019 05.59 BST

 
Last edited:
Article from The Guardian, analyzing this from the UK's perspective:

‘The way universities are run is making us ill’: inside the student mental health crisis

A surge in anxiety and stress is sweeping UK campuses. What is troubling students, and is it the universities’ job to fix it?

By Samira Shackle
Fri 27 Sep 2019 05.59 BST


Has the way universities are run changed? If it has, I get the impression that over time, these educational institutions have dumbed things down and made achieving academic success easier than in the past, if anything.

Or, did past generations just silently suck up and accept the difficulties of academic life, while the current young generations are more willing to speak out against them?
 

Back
Top