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Mental Health Week

APHD mental health week image header


May 3-7, 2021
(all events were held over the lunch hour)

May 3, 2021
Topic: Self-Care for Individual & Collective Liberation 
Speaker: Shalyn Isaacs

View recording.

May 4, 2021
Topic: LGBTQ2+ Clients: How do we bring resilience into research and therapeutic practise? 
Speaker: David Collict

View recording.

May 5, 2021
Topic: Let’s talk about it! Everything you should know (but probably don’t) about nonsuicidal self-injury!    
Speaker: Dr. Chloe Hamza

This event was not recorded as it contained confidential research data.

May 6, 2021
Topic: Fundamentals of Face Yoga: Introducing the Natural Facelift!

Facilitator: Sophia Ha

This recording will be available next week.

May 7, 2021
Topic: Bake-Along making scones with a very special OISE Alum and The Great Canadian Baking contestant: Anjali Helferty.

View recording.


Minimizing Brain Strain - Understanding Stress and Learning from Home

Come and learn how and why stress impacts our learning performance and what you can do to minimize brain-strain! Join Dr. Todd Cunningham in this special 1-hour event over Zoom to learn about neural responses to stress and the impact that stress has on learning. This interactive session will provide you with insights to identify stressors, as well as the strategies or interventions that you can apply to minimize the impact of stress.


Hope to Cope with COVID-19, Stress and Moving Home: Navigating parent-young adult relationships while social distancing

Archived version
With the COVID-19 pandemic and associated physical distancing measures, many young adults are experiencing higher than usual levels of stress while also finding themselves unexpectedly back at home, living with their parents. Join Dr. Abby Goldstein and the Psychology of Emerging Adulthood Research Lab (PEARL) for this special virtual event in honour of #MentalHealthWeek on Friday, May 8, 2020 to discuss these issues and how to navigate through successfully. Open to all.

MENTAL HEALTH TIPSmental health image banner

The faculty and students from APHD have come together and shared some Mental Health tips and what Mental Health means to them.



  • Everyone is on their own journey. The only person you should be better than is you in the past.
  • Establish personal and professional boundaries. Define them, communicate them, and preserve them.
  • Listen to your body when it's telling you no (or yes). It may be a quiet rumble, a twinge or a butterfly in your stomach. Your body knows what your mind needs.
  • This too shall pass. Don't abandon yourself when you need comfort and love the most. Stay with yourself while you ride this wave. It will end.
  • Selfcare is not selfish.
  • Look for ways to break out of the tunnel vision/fearmongering created by the news. Turn anxiety into action if you can.
  • Seek out opportunities to feel child-like joy. Eat a popsicle, buy some rollerskates. There's no expiry date on trying something new.
  • Keep your promises to yourself.
  • It's okay not to be okay.
  • Set one goal per week that is just about you. For example, I will make my favourite tea at least 3 times this week.
  • Tell your friends and family when you're doing well too. Being there in the highs and lows is comfort in its purest form.
  • Be the architect of your own life, look out for yourself. Design your life in such a way that you are set up for success, rather than relying on yourself to use willpower every second of the day. For instance, set up an automatic time limit on social media sites or pre-cook meals for your week instead of trusting that everyday you will have the willpower to shut off social media and make a healthy meal."Stay Fit": Your mental and physical health are tightly intertwined. Thus, it is important to take care of your physical health - try to eat well, get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, and exercise regularly. Try to reduce stress by practicing mindfulness or mediation, yoga, or other physical activities while maintaining physical distance.
  • Experience the wonder of art! Art connects you to beauty and transcending emotional experience. This is healing for the body and soul!
  • Don't count the day. Make the day count.
  • "Avoid avoidance": Avoidance breeds anxiety, and anxiety breeds further avoidance. If you have the coping skills, it is helpful to face your fears head on. Talk to others about what is bothering you. Avoiding rampant media exposure related to the pandemic is a good thing, but also make sure to stay up to date on the latest recommendations.
  • "Find the silver lining": We are all facing extraordinary stress and uncertainty, some more than others. Try as best you can to think positively about this situation: What new skills have you learned? What new ways of seeing the world have emerged? How has this made you stronger or more connected to others?
  • Stay connected: Social confinement and isolation increases our risk of anxiety and depression. This may be especially true for those who have already been struggling with these difficulties. Social relationships can buffer against this. Text, FaceTime, and videoconference with your friends and family often. Let them know you are thinking of them.
  • "Embrace caremongering": The satisfaction we get from helping others has a strong impact on our mental health. There is no better time to help those who need it most than now. Reach out to others and ask what you can do to help. Sometimes just asking is enough to make others feel supported. Try to do something kind for someone else every day.
  • Fostering awareness in the form a keen curiosity about our inner world and how we feel and think, in the moment, is a significant first step. By being in touch with ourselves, checking-in, and contextualizing our emotional experience into what is happening around us, we can balance both acts of self-compassion (for the things we cannot change) and active problem solving or coping strategies to tackle adversity.
  • Find the things that you love doing and actually do them. Find a way to balance the demands of grad school with things you enjoy doing outside of being a student.
  • Find what brings you joy and make time for it as much as possible!
  • You're not alone. I'm sure you hear this a lot but you aren't. Many have gone through similar perhaps difficult experiences but you will only grow as a person. You just keep on being the amazing you! Reach out to family, friends or anyone who supports you. They will more than appreciate you choosing them to confide in them and ask for their support if you need it.
  • Going to therapy has been such a great experience. More than that my tip would be to not give up on finding a therapist that works for you if the first person you try doesn't click. They are still humans, so not all will fit. It's worth it for the insight and understanding and compassion you can develop for yourself.
  • Reach out to someone if you are in distress. Call a distress centre or a friend. We will all get through this uncertain time!
  • Don't say something to yourself that you wouldnt say to someone you love. Be compassionate with yourself too.
  • Be kind to yourself and others. Self-compassion has a huge impact on anxiety and depression.
  • Everything in moderation. Exercise, Netflix, vegetables, chocolate, etc.
  • Check on people who seem the strongest, they often need your support the most.
  • Self-love and self-care are the most important. I was going through such low levels of self-esteem and I realized I didn't need to do grand actions to boost my confidence. All I did was orally say 1-2 positive things about myself, wrote 5 things that I love myself about, and I reviewed my personal goals DAILY. This is my morning routine and it helps me push through the day. So, I hope you will find that simple self-love routine!
  • Just because your mental health challenges don't seem as "severe" as another person's, does not mean they are any less significant.
  • Just because your mental health challenges don't fit criteria for any "diagnosis", does not make them any less significant.
  • Just because your mental health challenge does not fit your idea of what you think a "mental health challenge" actually is, does not make it any less difficult to deal with.
  • The mental health challenges you experience are worthy of support, no matter how small or insignificant they seem to you. Don't be afraid to seek help. Don't be afraid to accept help. Don't be afraid to help others. Everyone deserves to take care of their mental health, including you.
  • Yes, be gentle, accepting, and kind to yourself, but also have days / weeks of white-knuckled ambition, hard work, and sacrifice. Get out of bed early, do yoga, make 5 phone calls, blend up those kale smoothies and fight hard against the darkness. And then rest again. But don't give up.
  • Go easy on yourself, especially right now. We're not "trying to work and living in a pandemic".....we're "living in a pandemic AND trying to get work done". It's different...and it's hard...and we should be giving ourselves a break if we're not being as productive as usual.


  • Mental health is the process of checking in with yourself, talking to professionals for check-ups, and implementing solutions that improve your overall well-being.
  • It's a conscious choice of choosing life everyday.
  • Mental health means being materially and structurally supported. Rather than being told to "be mindful", being actively supported by one's program when health and safety are on the line would be wonderful.
  • Mental health means putting on my airplane emergency air mask before helping others with it.
  • Mental health is the process of checking in with yourself, talking to professionals for check-ups, and implementing solutions that improve your overall well-being.It's a conscious choice of choosing life everyday.
  • Mental health means being materially and structurally supported. Rather than being told to "be mindful", being actively supported by one's program when health and safety are on the line would be wonderful.
  • Mental health means putting on my airplane emergency air mask before helping others with it.
  • When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. - Fred Rogers
  • Mental Health, like physical health, is a dynamic scale where we feel better or worse depending on biological, social, emotional and systemic factors. Unlike physical health, it is a system that desperately needs equitable action.
  • It means how well an individual can function and their mental state, thought process, and behaviours.
  • Mental health is a spectrum with illness on one side and wellness on the other. We are all on this spectrum with varying levels of mental health. To me, mental health is something we ALL have. We all deserve to take care of our mental health and respect the mental health of others, no matter where you are on this spectrum.
  • My mental health is almost always aspirational. A few steps, yards, or blocks up the road, and I'm usually in hot pursuit!
  • Mental health means acknowledging that I can be okay and not okay at the same time.

Looking for Support? 
Visit our OISE Psychology Clinic and special COVID-19 Coping Resources page

Be a Supporter
You can also consider making a donation to our OISE Psychology Clinic, which has been designed to provide comprehensive and confidential assessment and intervention services to children and adolescents, and assessment and counselling services to adults. These services are typically provided by graduate students doing their clinical training under the supervision of faculty and staff psychologists.