HealthyMinds App

Life as a student can be stressful - assignments, part-time jobs, sports, clubs, relationships, family responsibilities. In fact, during your years as a student, you will face some of the most intense pressures of any point in your life. Stress can take a toll on your mind, weighing you down and even making you ill, so it’s important to take action to stay healthy. That’s what HealthyMinds is all about. HealthyMinds is a problem-solving tool to help deal with emotions and cope with the stresses you encounter both on and off campus. The goal: Keeping your mind healthy. HealthyMinds was developed by The Royal thanks to a donation by DIFD. The Royal is one of Canada’s foremost mental health care and academic health science centres. Its mandate is simple: to help more people living with mental illness into recovery faster.

HealthyMinds is a great tool to track how you’re feeling and takes a proactive approach towards understanding how those feelings affect us daily.

The HealthyMinds app is a fantastic way to teach healthy thinking skills to young people that research has shown to help with depression.

  • Rehearsing can be helpful. Plan out the points you want to make, and the words you’d like to use.
  • Pick a good time. Approaching someone when they are busy, or stressed, or when they have just walked through the door may not be a great idea. Find a time when they are relaxed and approachable. You may even want to set up an appointment or make a ‘date’ to talk to them.
  • Let them know what you expect of them while you talk. For example “I have some things to say, and I’d really appreciate it if you wait until I’m finished to respond ... would that be okay?”
  • Try not to get angry. Yelling or becoming defensive does not help you to get your message across.
How do I cope with stress?

1. Changing how we respond to stress and how we cope can keep you healthy. Studies prove it. Ask yourself: 

  • Is this something that I can change, reduce, eliminate? 
  • Can I control this? If yes, you can start changing how you react. 

2. Change how you see the stress. Look at ways to get a positive outcome. 

3. Change how your body responds to stress. If you can’t change what you feel, try to bring down the stress. Realize you are stressed and do something good for yourself. 

Tips for reducing stress:

  • Breathing can help you chill. Use this breathing technique: Use your index finger and block your right nostril. Inhale slowly through the left nostril for a count of 4, hold for 4 and exhale slowly through the left nostril for a count of 4. Do this breathing for a minimum of three minutes. 
  • Try running or walking to get your body in motion, Yoga, tennis, swimming, skiing. Stretch your body and your mind. Physical activity will help get your internal organs running like a fast efficient computer and relieve stress that can have a toll your body.
  • The way you speak to yourself in your own head affects your mental health. We all talk to ourselves; sometimes we talk out loud but usually we keep self-talk in our heads. Positive self-talk is another way to cope with stress:

Self-talk can be positive ("I can do this" or "Things will work out") or negative ("I'll never get well" or "I'm so stupid").

Negative self-talk increases stress. 
Negative: "I can't do this.” "Everything is going wrong." "I hate it when this happens." 

Positive self-talk helps you calm down and control stress.
Positive: "I'll do the best I can.” "I can handle things if I take one step at a time.” "I know how to deal with this; I've done it before." 

How do I talk about mental health?

Talking to someone you know

If you’re worried about what people might think or do if you tell them that you’re struggling, it might be helpful to consider speaking to someone who is trustworthy, but who has a bit more distance from your life than a friend or parent. Aunts, uncles, guidance counsellors, and teachers can be good candidates.

If you are thinking of telling someone about something you are struggling with but are afraid of how they will react, here are some tips about talking about tough stuff:

Just not ready to reach out yet?

If you just don’t feel ready to talk to anyone about what you are going through, here are some other things you can do:

  • Educate yourself
  • Read about mental health and the types of treatments that are out there.
  • Sometimes it’s easier to write it out than to talk.
  • Take care of yourself
  • Play sports or do another activity you love
  • Write about your feelings in a journal
  • Go for a walk
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Hang out with friend
How do I know if I’m depressed?

How do I know if I’m depressed?

  1. Are you feeling sad or irritable every day, for most of the day?
  2. Have you lost interest in activities or things (social, friends, physical activities etc.) that you found pleasurable before?
  3. Are you having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep or, are you sleeping too much?
  4. Do you feel worthless or excessively guilty most of the time?
  5. Do you struggle with low energy and /or poor concentration? Has this affected your school attendance or performance?
  6. Do you have frequent thoughts of death and dying?

If you answered yes to some or all the questions, a good first step is to talk to your family doctor about these feelings. If you’re in a crisis, remember that you are not alone. Don’t keep these feelings to yourself. Reach out. Tell a trusted adult like a parent, aunt or uncle, teacher, coach or guidance counsellor.

Day or night, if you are at risk, you need to reach out. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. There are a number of local and confidential places to phone. No matter what the problem, you can talk to someone who understands and who wants to help you: