Your mental health survival pass

Tina ChanDuring the busy end of term season, stress and anxiety can be a student’s worst enemy. Tina Chan is hoping to help students combat their anxiety with the Panic Anxiety and Stress Support (PASS) kit – a “mental health first aid kit” for students struggling to cope. 

Tina, who is heading into her fourth year of Health Studies with an option in Health Informatics, wanted to address student mental health and create a way for students to cope with their anxiety when they are unable to access professional services. In the same way that a first aid kit is essential in times of emergency, support for a student's mental health is essential during times of stress and panic throughout the school term. 

The mission of the PASS kit is to reduce the number of exam-time deferrals due to reasons of stress and the number of exam-time emergency intakes at Counselling Services.

Panic Anxiety and Stress Support (PASS) kit

The kit itself is made up of two elements: a set of stress relief items and a collection of help cards that deliver advice and infographics to help guide the student away from their negative thoughts.

The PASS kit was an idea that emerged from the Big Ideas Challenge pitch competition, which was hosted by St. Paul's GreenHouse and the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. Although the event was Tina's first pitch competition, she was selected as one of the students to spend a term in the GreenHouse program to further develop their idea. 

Now halfway through her term at GreenHouse, Tina has found the experience helpful in developing her understanding of various aspects of her social venture.

Working on this project taught me a lot about project management, trained me to easily apply creative thinking to different situations, and of course understand more about mental health’s gaps and needs in support for post-secondary students.

Moving forward, Tina hopes for the PASS kit to be readily available to any student who needs it.

I would really like to see the PASS kit distributed for free to students who need it on more than one school campus by the time I graduate. I would also like it to start a dialogue on the wait times for counselling appointments, and bring awareness to the harmful effects of anxiety and overwhelming stress of post-secondary students. 

For those who are currently struggling with stress and anxiety during what is often the busiest part of term, Tina does not offer advice but instead emphasizes the importance of avoiding generalizations and acknowledging an individual's experience as unique.

Often when someone is struggling, they hear a lot of “you should do this” or “you should do that,” but everyone’s experiences are unique, and what helps some will not apply to others. I don’t think I can offer advice, but I encourage those experiencing anxiety to tell someone about it – reaching out for support has always helped me.  

If you are having difficulty managing stress and anxiety, Counselling Services offers workshops and resources to help you

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