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Mac Eng talks mental healthJanuary 28, 2021

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, 10 McMaster Engineering students and members of the McMaster Engineering Society Wellness Committee share what mental health means to them through video and written reflections.

From achieving a work-life balance, to spending time with friends, to becoming mental health advocates, there are a variety of ways our students maintain their mental health and well-being.  

We hope their reflections inspire more members of the Fireball Family to take action and join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day

Bell donates towards mental health initiatives in Canada by contributing 5 cents for every applicable text, call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk.

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, McMaster’s Student Wellness Centre provides counseling options, medical services and wellness programs. They also have a list of resources to help you begin prioritizing your mental health and wellness as well as resources for international students.  

Here are some reflections on mental health from our students:

On taking things day by day

Sophie Dyment
iBioMed & Engineering Physics, III 

There is no doubt that everyone, no matter how put together they may seem, struggles with their mental health from time to time. Working on achieving and maintaining a healthy life balance and perspective is an ongoing journey with unique struggles and successes. Knowing that everyone has their ups and downs provides me with a sense of reassurance and perspective, it makes me feel less alone.

I have come to learn that it is 100% okay if every day isn’t my best day. Knowing that I strive to be the best version of myself and look for the best in others has helped me to cope with the highs and lows that life had thrown my way. I try to take things day by day while doing my best to stay level-headed. I am working to adopt the outlook that maintaining my mental health is not a destination, but rather a beautiful journey for me to enjoy.     

On finding balance

Rebecca Byers
Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences, II

I take care of my mental health by having balance in my life. Completing assignments and doing my work makes me feel proud, but I recognize that I can’t work all the time and need to take breaks. Talking and spending time with people makes me happy and other times spending time alone is what I need.

I go through times when I feel overwhelmed and not like myself. It’s easy to internalize these feelings because I find it hard to be vulnerable, even with people who care about me. What helps me to be open with my friends and family is recognizing that they only want the best for me and that a lot of the time talking openly about how I feel is enough to start feeling better.

On focusing on your well-being

Carmen Huynh
Civil Engineering, II

To me, mental health means caring for emotional and psychological well-being, regardless of gender, age, and ethnicity. It means to focus on yourself and your best interests, to be the best version of yourself, to function based on your own volition and preference, and to achieve self-satisfaction and self-confidence.

On mental health as a life skill 

Tracy Huynh
Chemical Engineering, IV

I think taking care of your mental health is an essential life skill, like cooking meals and doing your taxes. I struggled with my mental health throughout university and with projects, part-time jobs, and extracurriculars, caring for my mental health was never a priority. It took me a long time to realize that learning resilience and coping skills is just as important as passing all my classes. In order to be the best version of myself and be able to help others, I needed to invest time into healing. For me, that meant reading self-help books, journaling, and making music.

On changing your environment

Roshan Ty
Civil Engineering, II

My mental health is something that affects the way I act, think, and function on a daily basis. It is easily impacted by my environment and social network. As a result, I tend to work in clean settings and surround myself with people who keep me in a positive spirit.

I find that as a student studying civil engineering, it can be discouraging at times to keep up with the workload. However, by maintaining my mental health and keeping a dynamic work-life balance, I am able to persevere through challenging goals.

On mental health advocacy

Natalia Laxamana 
Electrical Engineering & Society, III

I cannot stress enough how increasingly important it has become to be an advocate for mental health in today's society. As someone with first-hand experience in dealing with anxiety and depression, I can attest for the saying that "recovery is not linear."

When I think of the topic of mental health, I am immediately blinded by the stigma that surrounds it. While I do believe that everyone experiences these struggles to some extent, I think it's crucial to note that there's a lot of ambiguity when it comes to each individual person. Mental health is something that is complex and ever-changing, as well as overwhelming in nature. A key factor in catalyzing the conversation to combat this stigma, is just talking about it - even the scary parts.

Want to learn more about how to take care of your mental health and the resources available at McMaster? Join our Instagram Live Chat with Nathan Cooper, psychologist, Student Wellness Centre tonight (January 28) from 6-7 pm.