“I dropped out of McGill University because of depression. It was the type that begins as a barely perceptible malaise but quickly penetrates your mind and renders you nearly unable to speak, think, or even walk.”
Susannah Feinstein wrote the above in an article for The McGill Daily, where she tells her own personal experience battling with depression. Reading her story seemed all too familiar to me. One of my best friends went through, and is going through, the exact same thing. I remember the shock I felt when I found out that they dropped out of their university.
“My friends and professors had no idea that I was having personal issues, because I appeared fine. I still went to parties, and talked with friends for hours. I even comforted a few people who might have been facing depression themselves but privately I was unraveling. I started to have outbursts of anger or sadness. The second I was alone, I’d cry almost uncontrollably. I had to leave classes to cry. I had to leave conferences to cry.”
Just like Susannah, my friend hid it well. They were always the most talkative, charismatic person in the room, and everybody loved them. I had no idea what was going on behind that. I had no idea that my friend was going through an inner turmoil that nobody they knew could relate to. I had no idea, even after I found out… what I could do as a friend. I never knew anybody with depression, and this was one of my best friends. Where could they go for help? Who can help?
“McGill is struggling financially and McGill Mental Health Services are operating on a very limited budget. If students are guaranteed access to these services, I see no issue. The real problem with these services is that they’re incompatible with the needs of a deeply depressed person at almost every level. A triage therapist might misdiagnose you. They might see hundreds of students a week and be unconsciously eager to get you out of the office. Overcoming a bout of depression will take many appointments. It might take dozens of therapists until you even find one with whom you’re comfortable. If you’re feeling really low, you might not even have the energy or motivation to make an appointment. It’s incredibly difficult to address mental health issues at any large university, not just McGill.”
And that is exactly what happened with my friend. When they finally decided to reach out to the school mental health services, they did not like the counselor and could not get the help they needed. As a result, they had to move back home to see someone else. A major issue we have on university campuses is allowing an environment where everybody—students, faculty, staff, counselors—feel comfortable talking about it, and not just behind closed doors in the Mental Health Services rooms. We need to speak up and advocate for better services for those with mental health issues, we need to bring that level of care to campus grounds so that people don’t feel like they need to leave university to receive adequate care.
My friend still has not returned to university yet, and I hope that when they do, the school will be a much more inviting place for people struggling with depression to be in.
~ Mei, Humans of Depression Representative
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The above quotes are taken from Macleans. http://www.macleans.ca/education/uniandcollege/i-dropped-out-of-mcgill-because-of-depression/