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Mental Health

What is Mental Health?

Mental health refers to a person’s psychological, social and emotional well-being. Like physical health, a person’s mental health can change over time, influencing their thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

Mental Health and Mental Illness

Poor mental health and mental illness are not the same. A person can experience a period of poor mental health and not be diagnosed with mental illness. Similarly, a person can go through times of mental well-being, and still be diagnosed with a mental illness. Diagnosis can only be done by a licenced healthcare professional.

Why is it Important?

Prioritizing positive mental health in all stages of life is important, as it determines how we handle stress, make decisions and relate to those around us. Mental health can impact physical health, future mental health conditions, and academic or professional success.

Test Anxiety

Test anxiety is a psychological condition where intense distress happens during an assessment. Feelings of temporary helplessness, extreme unease, nausea, dizziness, trembling, sweating and difficulty remembering simple information are just a few symptoms. Test anxiety can be brought on by a fear of failure, being unprepared, and having a poor testing history. While mild stress can help with mental alertness, test anxiety can make it hard to concentrate and accurately perform.

Self-help strategies can provide relief when dealing with test anxiety. Deep breathing exercises, getting enough sleep, replacing negative thoughts with a positive mindset, exercising to release tension, preparing in advance, and communicating with your teacher to set clear expectations, are a few ways to combat it.

Depending on the severity of test anxiety, students are encouraged to speak with their primary care physician or a mental health practitioner.

Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is the ability to complete work responsibilities, while also fulfilling non-work commitments outside of work hours. Maintaining a healthy balance between personal and professional life can be done by setting clear boundaries, protecting your personal time, managing priorities, scheduling brief breaks, and dividing labour accordingly.

A healthy work-life balance can reduce stress, prevent workplace burnout and fatigue, reduce the risk of workplace injuries, increase productivity and engagement, decrease interpersonal conflict between coworkers and support positive mental health.

Recognizing Signs of Distress

Recognizing signs is the first step in addressing distress.

Signs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical Changes – Fatigue, low energy, drastic weight loss or weight gain, increase in headaches or stomach pains, disorganized speech and rapid or slurred speech
  • Psychological Changes – Isolation, irritability, lack of regard for others, excessive worrying or guilt, crying spells, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Cognitive Changes – Memory issues, frequent mistakes, impaired decision-making
  • Changes in School or Workplace – Increase in tardiness, absenteeism, change in social habits, drop in motivation and productivity

Ontario Mental Health Resources

Students can access a variety of Mental Health resources by clicking on any of the links below. Further information can also be requested from campus staff.

Oxford College students may seek support from LifeWorks (formerly, Morneau Shepell), a human resource and technology company that offers mental health support and internet-based cognitive-behavior therapy (iCBT).  For additional information on how to access these services, students may speak to their program director.

Informative Links

What is Mental Health?

How to Ask for Help

Tips to Boost Mental Health

How to Manage Your Mental Health

Breaking the Stigma and Shame of Mental Illness

How to Overcome Test Anxiety

MindYourMind Interactive Tools and Resources

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