Image via Telecare Peterborough.

Telecare recognizes that students are dealing with a significant amount of stress from a huge amount of factors: school, work, relationships, loneliness, isolation, and/or mental illness. Exam time can be hard for any student, especially if they are dealing with feelings of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, grief, isolation, and/or suicidal thoughts. Telecare volunteers are caring and see the courage in those who pick up the phone and share their stories with us.

Many students who would gain positive benefits from mental health services such as Telecare do not know what services are available to them or are afraid to reach out for help. Why is this, we ask? There needs to be more guidance on services available in our communities. This is something our Telecare volunteers are trained to help with. There is also the fear of being stigmatized, which is very common among those living with mental illness. We as a community need to form and maintain strong emotional bonds with other people in order to have a sense of love and belonging.

This also helps fight against the stigmatization of mental illness. Stigma ties into this lack of human connection, as many living with mental illness can have trouble coping or are afraid of judgement by others. This can lead to further hiding, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and isolation.

When we are afraid to ask others for help in times of need, this is a kind of social isolation. The social disconnection can make us become distant from other people, lose friendships, or cause feelings of complete loneliness that we can’t seem to get ourselves out of. If you feel lonely, this is a completely normal feeling! 25 to 30% of Canadians across all age groups are reporting persistent levels of loneliness and social isolation. This feeling of constant worry and loneliness is a common problem among student communities, especially during times of extreme stress. If you ever feel that you have nobody to talk to you, or you’re up 3:00 a.m. and need someone, please know that you can always call our 24-hour distress line.

I want you to know that mental illness is not a form of laziness or lack of will. Picking up the phone and sharing an emotional experience with somebody is an act of trying and a first step towards gaining more social connections. Telecare can give a friendly and caring voice to help with any problem you wish to share. The volunteers here are trained on several issues involving mental health, stress, suicide, grief, relationship problems, sexuality, active listening, finances, and much more.

Telecare is a 24-hour confidential distress line that offers a non-judgmental listening ear to anyone in need. It’s hard when you feel alone and have no one who is able to listen. These volunteers are empathetic, attentive, and enjoy supporting callers by talking them through their problems. Just having that one person to talk to can make all the difference in the world to someone facing mental illness, or even just going through a stressful period in life.

Even if you just want to talk to someone about your day or are looking for local community resources, Telecare can help! Call us: (705) 745-2273, visit our website, and check out our Facebook page.