As mid-term exams wind down for another semester, programs to help Sudbury students deal with stress are ramping up.

The issue of mental stress among students on campus is increasing across the country, and is garnering attention in Sudbury.

At Cambrian College’s student centre, organizers of the Yellow Umbrella project hope they can help. 

A Cambrian student and the director of student and academic affairs for the student association said the project is meant to remind students there’s shelter from the stresses of student life.

“What we are trying to show is that sometimes, even just depression and stress from exams, or your life surrounding students, that it’s OK,” he said, pointing to a wall plastered with positive messages on little yellow sticky notes that are shaped like umbrellas. “There are people in the same situation as you.”

The Yellow Umbrella project is causing students to ask questions and talk, Suchy said.

“Having that wall of yellow, students will come over and ask, 'what this is?' “[That's] exactly what we want. We want them to ask what it is. We want them to know what it is.”

He said the goal is to connect students with support services offered on campus, such as counselling.

Counsellors at ‘capacity’

There are also conversations about mental health getting started at Sudbury’s Laurentian University.

The manager of health and wellness services at the university said the school merged physical and mental health services several years ago, raising the profile of counselling services.

“Our counsellors are filled to capacity and they see many clients a day and sometimes have to work extended hours,” Lyne Rivet said. “So people are accessing the services.”

Both Cambrian and Laurentian are also participating in a provincial program called Good 2 Talk, which provides 24-hour counselling to students over the phone.