The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) strives to accommodate students who are struggling with anxiety or depression, through numerous services.
Registered psychologist Julie Egers has been in the field for 12 years, and has worked in the SAIT Student Development and Counselling Department for the past five years.
Egers said the symptoms of anxiety and depression differ for each person.
However, general symptoms can include chronic worrying, irritability, sleep disturbance, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest, lack of motivation, and feelings of hopelessness.
“I think SAIT does a lot, there’s a real emphasis on being proactive,” said Egers, adding that the transition to post-secondary can be difficult, with fast-paced courses, and heavy course loads.
“We need to get people to adjust their priorities and their relationships,” said Egers.
SAIT recognizes the potential challenges students are faced with during the school year, and provides programs in learning how to manage the stress associated with being a post-secondary student.
Some events SAIT hosts include SAIT Start, where students and their supporters have the opportunity to become more familiar with what the upcoming year will entail, Egers said.
SAIT wants students to know what they will be up against. -Julie Egers
Egers said, with a variety of orientation activities, classroom presentations and customized workshops, students have the opportunity to learn different ways of managing stress.
The Student Development and Counselling Department reaches out to those who may have not sought help on their own, by regularly collaborating with other organizations on campus, such as the Chinook Lodge, the International Centre, and residence.
Along with the Student Development and Counselling Department, students can use the SAIT Student Association (SAITSA) as a resource.
Assistant Manager of Marketing and Communications Shona White said SAITSA offers the Peer Support Centre, which is for students who are seeking company, or community involvement.
SAITSA also offers an app called I.M. Well, which includes wellness alerts, and allows students to connect with local counsellors anytime of the day.
Registered nurse and first-year respiratory therapy student Aimee Wong is used to stress caused by school.
Wong said when she becomes stressed from her classes, she increases her self-care, does more activities she enjoys, and takes advantage of the resources SAIT offers, such as pet a puppy day.
“I’m most at ease when I’m cooking, it takes my mind off of stress,” said Wong.
“Talking to my family is a big support, because I’m basically on my own here.”