Two years of pandemic response have brought light to the importance of wellness, which includes physical and emotional health, says Phebe Lam.
“Certainly, this time has helped everyone understand how important mental health is,” Dr. Lam says. “We all need wellness, and it’s okay to ask for support.”
Acting associate vice-president, student experience, she is taking the opportunity afforded by Asian Heritage Month to reach out to students who may be reluctant to ask for help.
“I am Chinese Canadian and I know that in my culture, as well as other cultures, there can be a stigma attached to seeking support for mental health,” says Lam. “We have to let students know that no matter where you’re from, there are specific resources to support you.”
The Student Counselling Centre offers several wellness services geared to those of Asian backgrounds:
- The My Student Support Program (MySSP) provides confidential counselling from licensed counsellors conversant in more than 35 languages and cultures.
- The Asian Mental Health Collective provides a directory of Asian Canadian therapists as well as psychoeducation specific to Asian mental health.
- Find a list of mental health resources on the wellness website.
The University is home to international students as well as Asian-Canadians, with large populations from China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia — and representation from almost 100 other countries.
The International Student Centre is their home away from home, providing a range of services, from academic support to guidance on housing, applications for the International Student Identity Card, and health-related support from nursing students. Find a list of resources on the centre’s website.
Well-being includes both physical and emotional health, which is individual, says Lam: “My best self, what it looks like and feels like, is individual.”