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Self-Care for Students: Community Engaged Research for Better Well-Being

McMaster researchers Drs. Marisa Young and James Gillett are partnering with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Hamilton to understand which self-care tools are effective for post-secondary students and to develop essential programming that will narrow the pernicious disparity between the demand and delivery of mental health care for Hamilton’s post-secondary students. This project aims to improve understanding and promotion of self-care from a social science perspective.

This collaborative project between CMHA and McMaster University will address the following questions:

1) What self-care practices do university students pursue in the promotion of their mental health?
2) Which forms of self-care promote resilience in students?
3) What are the barriers that students face when attempting to manage their own mental health on and off campus?
4) How can local community organizations help promote student self-care and resilience in ways that align with the needs of students?

Our understanding of mental health is socially scientific, rather than situated in the dominant medical model. From this view, mental health is not about the absence of mental illness but rather the overall well-being of a person across many roles and contexts, which places the social causes and consequences of mental health at the forefront (Aneshensel et al. 2013). We recognize that social factors impact well-being and resultantly requires the collective attention of research and community.