Winnipeg

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Student Burnout

Sarah Carnevale, 24, practices yoga, reads poetry and plans her next getaway to cope with feelings of high stress and anxiety while in school.

The second-year University of Winnipeg education student said balancing five courses, working as a server and managing a social life can be too much.

“You’re focusing on getting assignments done, you’re trying to spend time with your friends, you’re trying to go to work and you’re trying to find a good balance when things are constantly piling up. You don’t know when it’s going to stop,” she said.

Carnevale said last term she couldn’t handle it all and suffered a mental health breakdown, forcing her to stay in bed for three days.

One in ten 15 to 24-year-olds have experienced depression and anxiety. The Statistics Canada report found that 64 per cent of those surveyed were students.

Anxiety and depression among students is up about 15 per cent since 2000, according to a survey by the American College Health Association. Almost half the students said school was their biggest source of anxiety.

Last year, mental health and learning disability accommodations for tests and exams increased by 28 per cent at Red River College, according to data from Radio-Canada. The college said they’re committed to providing supports for students with mental health concerns, and have brought in self-care programming like therapy dogs, mindfulness training and anxiety forums.

Breanna Sawatzky, Red River College’s Mental Health Coordinator, said these services aim to reduce stigma.

“There’s a lot to do to ensure we’re creating a health-promoting environment that supports student well-being,” she said.
When students graduate they go to places like Think Shift. The advertising company said they foster a healthy work environment with initiatives like the pin program. People can wear a button that mirror what they’re feeling.

“It’s a way to promote dialogue and openness about mental health. It’s about making people feel safe and comfortable to express how they’re feeling,” said Courtney Bannatyne, Co-Chair of the Culture and Wellness Committee.

Carnevale said she hopes more organizations work towards healthy workplace environments. It’s what she will be looking for when applying for work this April.

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