One of the greatest challenges when it comes to mental health and well-being is feeling like you’re alone in your journey. Greenwood’s Jack Chapter regularly hosts events that help to break down the stigma around talking about mental health and seeking help.
On December 9, the Jack Chapter invited three Greenwood alumni – Clark Devins '14, Daniel Martin '09 and Taylor Martineau '11 – for a panel discussion regarding mental health. The school listened as each grad spoke about their mental health journeys.
Clark Devins ‘14 was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder during his postsecondary studies. He is thankful that one of his postsecondary professors urged him to get help as the professor recognized that Clark was experiencing a manic episode. He also found it easier to reach out to his network for support after his diagnosis due to his many connections from school.
During his time here at Greenwood, Clark was heavily involved in the arts and athletics. He also created the mural that leads to the Beltline Trail. During the panel discussion, he encouraged students to try as many activities while in school. Not only can co curricular activities be stress relieving, but they can also allow you to develop a strong support network of peers through co curricular involvement.
However, it may not always be clear when someone needs help. Taylor Martineau ‘11 and Daniel Martin ‘09 both spoke of how they managed to mask their mental health challenges at school and with friends.Taylor habitually found herself dissociating at school in order to avoid thinking about the reality of her abuse at home. After a severe panic attack at school, she was mandated to have sessions with Greenwood’s social worker. Taylor recalled that it felt like a shameful secret to have appointments with the school social worker, and she is happy to see that it’s more commonplace and accepted to talk about mental well-being and have counselling appointments nowadays at Greenwood. She urged students to talk about their issues with people they trust. “Even though this is said a lot, things will get better,” she said.
For Daniel Martin ‘09, he recognized that he was sometimes his own barrier when it came to seeking help or talking about his mental well-being. “I would know what I needed to do and who I should talk to, but it would take me months to make an appointment,” he said. He advised that everyone should regularly talk, whether with your network or with a professional. “Things don’t have to be bad before you talk to someone,” Daniel said. Incorporating regular emotional well-being check ups is a great habit to develop and can help to avert many mental health crises.
Through events like this panel discussion, we hope to continue cultivating frank and open conversations about mental health and to further break down the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.
We acknowledge with gratitude the Ancestral lands upon which our main campus is situated. These lands are the Ancestral territories of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Anishinabek and the Wendake. The shared responsibility of this land is honoured in the Dish with One Spoon Treaty and as settlers, we strive to care for the land, the waters, and all creatures in the spirit of peace. We are responsible for respecting and supporting the enduring presence of all First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. When away from this campus we vow to be respectful to the land by protecting and honouring it. We will create relationships with the people and the land we may visit by understanding the territories we enter and the nations who inhabit them.