Tackling major depressive episodes (MDE) among students at Queen's University
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The purpose of this project was to develop a tool for students to seek professional help if they were suffering from a Major Depressive Episode (MDE). If depression is left untreated, it can affect students‘ academic performance, lead to risky behavior, and put students at a greater risk for suicide (Hankin & Abramson, 2001; McGuffie & Low, 1999). Inspired by recommendation 3.3 from the Principal‘s Commission on Mental Health Final Report to improve the health and wellness of students on the Queen‘s campus, I sought to identify the major barriers that prevented university students who are depressed from seeking professional help. Three major barriers were identified: a lack of perceived need to seek professional help; a lack of knowledge of counselling services; and perceived stigma. After considering the initiatives of other interventions that have attempted to improve professional help-seeking among university students who were suffering from an MDE, I created a tool that incorporates three features to improve help-seeking: self-identification mechanisms; mental health literacy content and destigmatization information; and help-seeking source information. I plan to present this tool to the Commission on Mental Health to improve the health and wellness of students at Queen‘s University.