A hand holds up a card with information on it about Humber Let’s Talk.

Humber College students heard from their peers who shared their stories, experiences and insights on mental health during a virtual panel discussion.

The event, which happened on January 25, was part of Humber Let’s Talk, a week dedicated to mental health awareness and action. Humber Let’s Talk is part of a wider emphasis at the College to support the wellness of its community members.  
In 2022, Humber released its Well-being Strategy to guide its commitment to prioritize health and well-being in all aspects of campus culture. The holistic approach to community well-being focuses on physical, mental, social and financial health, and advocates healthy behaviours by providing accessible and inclusive programs and services.

The event had the panelists – students Jessica Carrera (Hospitality – Hotel and Restaurant Operations Management), Juliana Villamizar (Bachelor of Commerce – International Business), Sandra Daniela Gonzalez Vega (Advertising and Marketing Communications) and Huda Halawi (Community Social Services) – sharing their thoughts and answering questions that touched on mental health and well-being.

When asked about how they manage stress and maintain their mental well-being with the demands of being a student, Gonzalez Vega said making a daily to-do list helps in limiting stress as does setting aside time to connect with friends.

Halawi said academic pressure is one of the challenges students are facing and it can be tough balancing act at times. To help manage it, Halawi likes to break tasks into smaller, more manageable ones while also leaning on friends and campus resources.

Responding to a question about the impact of technology on mental health, Carrera said deactivating social media or staying off it is one way to limit its impact. Instead of doom scrolling or commenting on posts, Carrera connects with friends to talk or reaches out to resources for support.

Villamizar and Gonzalez Vega said that, as international students, they can experience challenges that are different for their domestic peers. For example, not having family to lean on. There's also the pressure that comes with struggling academically in a course and knowing, if they fail or drop it, it’s not always as simple as just retaking it for several reasons including cost.

“I was new to Canada when I came to Humber and I didn’t really know anyone and didn’t have a support circle,” said Villamizar, adding it was hard not having family living in the country.

What the panelists told those watching is that they’re not alone and that by talking, you’re helping others.

“Use your voice and if you’re struggling with something don’t be afraid to speak up,” said Halawi. “Having open conversations reduces the stigma around mental health.”

The Healthy You healthy community hub website provides resources and supports for the entire Humber community in a variety of areas including physical, mental, financial and social health and well-being.