The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

River Wearmouth shares the story of his younger sister’s suicide.

Mental health is something that affects every group of people, irrespective of age, skin colour or status. However, university students suffer from mental-health issues more often than not.

According to a University of Calgary study, young adults between the ages of 18-24 are at high risk for mental illness and substance misuse. The majority of university students that fall within this age bracket are more likely to suffer from mental-health symptoms and elevated stress levels than non-college students.

River Wearmouth, a student who has suffered from mental-health symptoms in his university days, says mental health is a very important aspect of his life.

Wearmouth got more involved with mental health associations a few years ago when his younger sister died by suicide. His sister was a student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

“You know, I saw her the week before this happened and nobody had any clue,” he says.

Wearmouth’s sister sought help for her mental-health issues, but was concerned that her school’s resources were not adequate or diverse enough, Wearmouth said.

Many campuses offer resources to help students struggling from mental health. However, the same University of Calgary study explained the majority of students who struggle with a mental illness never seek help, largely due to stigmas surrounding mental illnesses.

Erica Roberts, a health promotions specialists at Mount Royal University, says her main goal is to ensure that students have access to resources catered to all their mental-health needs.

There is still a lot of stigma surrounding mental health that stops students from seeking help, Robert explains.

“If you’re consistently having bad days you should recognize within yourself that it’s OK to reach out for help,” she says.

Roberts and Wearmouth hope that there will be more resources for those who aren’t struggling with mental illness to be educated on the topic and learn how they can help those who are.

Why mental health stigma prevents university students from seeking help from MRU Journalism on Vimeo.

If you or someone you know needs help, the Distress Centre’s 24-hour crisis line can be reached at 403-266-4357.