Promoting Mental Health at Ryerson University Essay

Promoting Mental Health at Ryerson University Essay

Promoting Mental Health at Ryerson University

You are the Director of Student Development & Counselling at Ryerson University. The University president, Mohamed Lachemi, has asked you to  research the common mental health concerns students face and present them in a report.

Your Promoting Mental Health at Ryerson University Essay Task is to Research approximately three mental health concerns higher education students are currently experiencing.

In your report, you will discuss the three concerns in detail. At the end of your report, you will offer your recommendation on how to enhance awareness on these issues to educate the student population.

EXPECTED Assignment  Outline


TITLE: MEMO (it’s a memo report) informal you can use first or second person, – Ryerson university logo top right

To: xxx, president

From: Axxx, director of student development and counselling

Date: Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Subject: Recommendation Report Assessing Possible Mental Health Education Initiative


(corporate approach, no salutation required)

background = 1 paragraph 4-6 sentences total (short and brief)

–          You’re going to provide research on the department you work within *include in text citations (lead with evidence!!)

–          Research on the problem and or opportunities that exist include in text citation

–          Option 1, the problem is the rise of mental health – more information about that

–          Clear purpose statement “the purpose of this recommendation report is to analyze … such and such”

–          Highlighting what you’d like to analyze for your audiencePromoting Mental Health at Ryerson University EssayPromoting Mental Health at Ryerson University Essay

–          Lead with evidence




        1-3 sentences introduction – then you mention the concerns

2.1 – 
anxiety at least one paragraph 4-6 sentences – include facts stats and examples within in-text citations)

include 1-2 sentences analysis at the end of each paragraph (“so what?” > interpret the data exceed requirements


figure number #1 ________ refer to figure number up top in the body, to ground floating figure. (as seen in figure one below)

2.2  – topic #2  – Mention another mental health concern

anxiety at least one paragraph 4-6 sentences – include facts stats and examples within in-text citations)

include 1-2 sentences analysis at the end of each paragraph (“so what?” > interpret the data exceed requirements

2.3 – anxiety at least one paragraph 4-6 sentences – include facts stats and examples within in-text citations)

include 1-2 sentences analysis at the end of each paragraph (“so what?” > interpret the data exceed requirements


one paragraph =4-6 sentences

SUMMARIZE the main points from the report 



indent topics, under headings,

how to educate the general publics (what universities, the government, schools and places have done)

1 paragraph of 4-6 sentences

–          based on the research outlined in this report, it can be seen that…

–          include concrete (researched) next steps (if you can) – try to format in a list or a table- if you can use it in the body section that would be good,


Full APA References



To: Mohammed Lachemi, President

From: Ardalan Alaei-Toosi, Director of Student Development and Counselling

Date: Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Subject: Recommendation Report Assessing Possible Mental Health Education Initiative

1.0 Background

Over the last ten years, cases of mental health issues among students on campus in Canada have become more prevalent.  In addition, university students have become increasingly impulsive – frequently attempting to inquire themselves – and are often likely to be diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders.  A study conducted by Byck, et al. (2013) revealed that higher education students nowadays are at the risk of mental health disorders than in the past.  However, this is not entirely true.  While a number of researchers support this thinking, others offer contradictory opinions.  For example, severe anxiety among higher education students is generally on the downward trend as are suicidal thoughts.  On average, in addition, anxiety and depression in this populace remained at the approximately the same margin. It is crucial to note that university life is not the primary factor for the increase in severe depression among higher education students, but rather more university teenagers are arriving in college with pre-existing mental disorders.  Mustanski, Andrews & Pucket, (2016) concede that students experiencing severe mental disorder are likely to get better education, support and outreach during their childhood and as a result, they are more likely to enrol for university programmes than in the past. Against this reality, this recommendation report purposes to analyse three mental disorders – anxiety and stress, alcohol and drug abuse, as well as assault, rape and sexual abuse.  These issues are common among Ryerson University students.


2.0 Analysis of Top Mental Health Concerns

Anxiety and stress, depression and suicide as well as assault, rape and sexual abuse are the most prevalent form of mental health disorders among students in higher institutions of learning. When stress and anxiety gets out of control it can spiral into overwhelming degrees and this can low the productivity levels of an individual to a greater extent. Depression and suicide are also harmful mental health disorders that affect university students. Depression and suicidal thoughts affects an individual’s ability to perform routine activities. In addition, assault, rape, and sexual abuse significantly affect university students since it influences how they relate to others. These three mental health issues are discussed explicitly below.

2.1 Anxiety and Stress

            Stress and anxiety are part of human life and, in many conditions, are adaptive.  Normal levels of anxiety and stress keeps people alert by forcing them to attend to their environment in order to proceed cautiously when need be and as such, it is not a common cause for concern (Kugelmass & Garcia, 2015). However, at times, stress and anxiety can get out of control – inexplicably spiralling to overwhelming degrees.  This can lead in a dramatic decrease of productivity levels and can substantially intrude on the quality of life of an individual. Often, there is no reasonable or obvious cause for the unprecedented anxiety and stress levels.  Identified symptoms of anxiety and stress include:

  • inability to relax
  • feeling restless, on the edge or keyed up
  • uptight, tense feeling
  • soreness, aches or muscle tension
  • difficulties concentrating
  • trouble staying or falling asleep (Insomnia)
  • impatience or irritability
  • Physical symptoms including heart palpitations, sweaty palms, trouble swallowing, diarrhoea or nausea and shortness of breath.

The most common sources of stress and anxiety for higher education students comprise concerns about interpersonal issues including roommate difficulties and meeting new people, managing learning workload and concerns linked to homesickness or loneliness.  On the contrary, however, a study by Filkuková, et al (2016) revealed that cases of severe anxiety and depression showed a significant drop, especially within the last 3 years.  This phenomenon could be a pointer to the fact that higher education students are increasingly learning on how to deal with stress and anxiety.  Some useful stress and anxiety coping techniques for higher education students include setting priorities, effective management of time, as well as developing and adopting an efficient academic routine.  The image below amplifies the prevalence of mental health disorder in Canada among adolescents.



2.2 Depression and Suicide

2.2.1 Depression

            There are many occasions when humans feel depressed. Experiencing feelings of sadness and often, when one cannot be able to react normally to disappointment, situational stress, or loss are perfect examples of feelings of depression (Cohen  & Kendall, 2015).  However, how can one distinguish these symptoms from the more serious disorder known as ‘depression’? Some features of ‘normal’ feelings of depression are: Promoting Mental Health at Ryerson University Essay

  • It is easier to note a specific trigger
  • One is able to execute day-to-day activities such as getting work done, sleeping, eating, attending class among others
  • Such feelings last only for a short period of time, that is, one or two days
  • One is able to employ the normal coping strategies.

On the contrary, clinical depression is an illness that affects an individual’s ability to carry out daily activities. It is common for individuals to associated depression with overwhelming sadness. However, those who suffer from depression do not experience this, while others may show different emotions including anger or numbness. In addition, clinical depression disrupts an individual’s physical, social, and mental functioning. The most common signs of depression are:

  • Loss of pleasure or interest in activities one used to like
  • Frequently crying without a particular reason
  • Withdrawal
  • Loss of energy and motivation
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty making decisions or concentrating
  • Difficulty performing regular tasks
  • Appetite disturbances
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Engrossed with death thoughts among others

Despite this grim picture, there is an array of hope in as far as depression among college students is concerned. When one is experiencing mild or situational depression, it is important to reach out to trustworthy individuals who they can talk to. Promoting Mental Health at Ryerson University Essay

2.2.2 Suicide

            Vahl, et al (2016) argue that feelings and thoughts of suicide often accompany depression. It is therefore, crucial to note some suicide signs:

  • Directly or indirectly verbalising feelings and thoughts of suicide
  • Engrossed with death
  • Giving away valued possessions or money
  • Signs of depression
  • Legal problems
  • Social isolation, withdrawal
  • Severe academic issues
  • Recent trauma such as bullying
  • Severe relationship challenges
  • Writing suicide note, a will or goodbye letter
  • Changes in the individual’s regular behaviour patterns

In contrast, Mustanski, Andrews & Pucket, (2016) report that cases of suicidal thoughts and feelings have declined by approximately 15 % in the recent past. The decline may be attributed to improvements in suicide prevention outreach and education as well as enhanced awareness on the multiple types of suicide assistance readily available.

2.3 Assault, Rape, and Sexual Abuse

            Childhood sexual abuse such as unwanted sexual experience such as oral sex, attempted rape, fondling and rape, can have devastating effects on the victim. Often, victims do not tell others their experiences – because of feelings of shame and fear, and as a result, it is difficult to get assistance; such secrets are frequently concealed into adulthood (Wiggins, et al. 2010). Regrettably, many of the consequences of sexual abuse during childhood can also carry on into adulthood. These effects include:

  • Mistrust for self and others
  • Difficulties in sustaining interpersonal relations
  • Feeling of worthlessness or low self-image
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Unresolved emotions such as anger and fear

During teenage-hood, higher education students can be victims of rape or sexual assault. When rape and sexual rape occur on university campus – in most scenarios – the victim often knows the perpetrator. Additionally, exposure to any form of trauma where grave physical harm occurs can result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Other forms of traumatic events comprises of violent mugging, physical abuse, accidents, military combat, and gay bashing. Victims of such events and their relatives are at risk of developing PTSD. Promoting Mental Health at Ryerson University Essay.


In the past decade, cases of mental health disorder have been on the upward trajectory among students enrolled in institutions of higher learning. This prevalence has necessitated the need to review the causes and possible solutions to this problem that is likely to affect the productivity of future generations. Today, higher education students are at the risk of mental health disorders than in the past. Promoting Mental Health at Ryerson University Essay. Crucially important, it is essential to note that university life is not the primary factor for the increase in severe depression among higher education students, but rather more university teenagers are arriving in college with pre-existing mental disorders.  Consequently, there is increasing concern among stakeholders to resolve this problem at the onset. This recommendation report is critical towards redressing mental health issues among Ryerson University students.


This report recommends the following as measures to address the problem of mental health disorders on students in Ryerson University

  1. The university administration should set up a call centre that allows students with mental health symptoms such as anxiety and stress to call and air their issues with university counsellors or schedule an appointment with a counsellor. Promoting Mental Health at Ryerson University Essay.
  2. Secondly, these report recommends that any students who knows a person with suicidal thoughts, he or she should contact the university suicide prevention unit in order to inform a crisis counsellor about the case
  • For those who have been abused sexually, they should either contact the university counselling unit or send anonymous messages to the university online screening programme for assistance.



Byck, G., Bolland, J., Dick, D., Ashbeck, A., & Mustanski, B. (2013). Prevalence of mental health disorders among low-income African American adolescents. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 48(10), 1555-1567. doi:10.1007/s00127-013-0657-3

Cohen, J., & Kendall, P. (2015). Peer Victimization Among Children and Adolescents with Anxiety Disorders. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 46(3), 393-405. doi:10.1007/s10578-014-0479-x

Filkuková, P., Jensen, T. K., Hafstad, G. S., Minde, H. T., & Dyb, G. (2016). The relationship between posttraumatic stress symptoms and narrative structure among adolescent terrorist-attack survivors. European Journal Of Psychotraumatology, 71-8. doi:10.3402/ejpt.v7.29551 Promoting Mental Health at Ryerson University Essay

Kugelmass, H., & Garcia, A. (2015). Mental disorder among nonreligious adolescents. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 18(5), 368-379. doi:10.1080/13674676.2015.1063044

Mustanski, B., Andrews, R., & Pucket, J. A. (2016). The Effects of Cumulative Victimization on Mental Health Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Adolescents and Young Adults. American Journal Of Public Health, 106(3), 527-533. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302976

Sabri, B. (2012). Severity of Victimization and Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders Among Substance Using Adolescents. Child & Youth Care Forum, 41(1), 37-55. doi:10.1007/s10566-011-9151-9

Vahl, P., van Damme, L., Doreleijers, T., Vermeiren, R., & Colins, O. (2016). The unique relation of childhood emotional maltreatment with mental health problems among detained male and female adolescents. Child Abuse & Neglect, 62142-150. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2016.10.008

Wiggins, A., Browne, M. O., Bearsley-Smith, C., & Villanueva, E. (2010). Depressive disorders among adolescents managed in a child and adolescent mental health service. Australasian Psychiatry, 18(2), 134-141. doi:10.3109/10398560903296657 Promoting Mental Health at Ryerson University Essay




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