Common Challenges

Depression

Depression is a challenging and serious mental illness that negatively impacts mood. Without treatment, it can affect the way you feel, think and act for a long time. Signs of depression can include feeling sad, irritable, hopeless, worthless, anxious, guilty and uninterested in things that you used to enjoy. You may withdraw from loved ones and notice changes in your weight, appetite, sleep, and activity levels. You might feel low in energy, have difficulty concentrating, and even have thoughts of suicide. People can experience depression in different ways. However, the positive news is that depression is treatable. For help or further information, speak to a Columbia College counsellor or nurse, and/or a health professional in the community (family doctor, etc.). Learn more about depression from the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Anxiety Disorders

There are different types of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorders, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and several others. Everyone feels stressed or worried at some times during their lives, and a certain level of anxiety can even be useful when it motivates you to complete tasks or lets you know something is wrong. However, anxiety disorder is when anxiety is no longer helpful and it negatively impacts various areas of your life. Treatments are available for each kind of anxiety disorder.

Speak to a Columbia College counsellor or nurse, and/or a health professional in the community (family doctor, etc.) for help or more information. Learn more about anxiety from Anxiety Canada

Drugs and Alcohol

People use substances such as alcohol and drugs for a variety of different reasons. Substance use can become a problem if you are using it to cope with things like stress, anxiety or depression instead of dealing with the root issues. Substance use can also cause you to take higher risks, lead to emotional issues, and make problems (including other mental health challenges) worse. Substance use is problematic when it has negative consequences on your life, begins to affect your health, and you experience physical and/or psychological addiction (tolerance and dependence on the substance).

Speak to a Columbia College counsellor or nurse, and/or a health professional in the community (family doctor, etc.) for help or more information. Learn more about substance use from Foundry.

Addictions Support: BC211 is a Vancouver-based non-profit organization that specializes in providing information and referral regarding community, government, and social services in British Columbia. BC211 helpline services include the Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service (ADIRS). Contact ADIRS toll-free at 1-800 663-1441, or in the lower mainland at 604-660-9382.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide is when someone intentionally ends their own life. Sometimes a person is in so much pain that they see suicide as the only option. However, those who die by suicide may not always really want to end their life, but just want the overwhelming pain and difficult thoughts, feelings and situations they are experiencing to stop. There are several risk factors and warning signs for suicide which you can learn more about from the Canadian Mental Health Association.

The risk of suicide can be reduced by seeking treatment for mental health concerns, building social support networks, and learning good coping skills. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide speak to a Columbia College counsellor or nurse, and/or a health professional in the community (family doctor, etc.) as soon as possible for help or more information. You may also find it helpful to contact a crisis telephone support line like the Crisis Centre. The Crisis Centre is available to listen and help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). If you are in crisis, call 911 or go to your local emergency room immediately.

Eating Disorders

The three main kinds of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders are not just about food, but are also about body image, and a person’s sense of control, identity, self-worth and self-esteem. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that also impact physical and emotional health.

You can learn more about eating disorders from the Canadian Mental Health Association. The Looking Glass Foundation provides community support for those in recovery from eating disorders. For help or further information, speak to a Columbia College counsellor or nurse, and/or a health professional in the community (family doctor, etc.).

Grief

Grief, or the experience of loss, is one of the most stressful experiences you can go through. People usually grieve when they lose someone they love, but you might also grieve the loss of a pet, relationship, or job. Everyone experiences grief differently but you may feel shocked, angry, sad, scared, anxious, relieved, or peaceful. Grief is a process that takes time to go through. It can help if you have some way to express your grief and supportive people to turn to. It is important to give yourself time to feel what you need to feel, reach out for help if necessary, and take care of yourself. For help or further information, speak to a Columbia College counsellor or nurse, and/or a health professional in the community (family doctor, etc.) Learn more about grief, and/or contact the BC Bereavement Helpline for further assistance.