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U of A pharmacy students' video removes stigma from 'mental health'

With exams fast approaching, a group of pharmacy students at the University of Alberta is trying to take the issue of mental health viral.

1 in 5 people experience mental illness, but 5 out of 5 have mental health, group says

Third-year pharmacy student Scott Wakeham is one of the people in the mental health video, which had been viewed nearly 2,000 times by Monday afternoon. (APSA Mental Health Awareness)

With exams fast approaching, a group of pharmacy students at the University of Alberta is trying to take the issue of mental health viral.

The students have posted a video emphasizing the importance of taking care of your own mental health — especially during stressful times like exam season — and of finding help when you need it, or better yet, before you need it.

Scott Wakeham, a third-year pharmacy student and the person behind the video, hopes the video helps remove some of the social stigma associated with mental health, something he has seen his own family and loved ones struggle with first-hand.

"This video is kind of a project to have more of a holistic approach and not to be reactive with mental health — but instead to look forward and see what we can prevent," Wakeham said Monday.

Wakeham also takes issue with the stigma around the phrase "mental health" itself, noting that for many the phrase is interchangeable with mental illness.

"Everyone has mental health, and everyone needs to take care of their mental health — just like they wash their hands to prevent from getting sick; just like some people have high blood pressure, but everyone has blood pressure," he said. "Some people have mental illness, but everyone has mental health."

As of Monday afternoon, the video has been watched more than 1,700 times — and Wakeham said that's likely to go up as people continue to post it on Facebook and Twitter.

"I am really pleased with it because I think the further that we can get the video out there, the more people it's going to reach that maybe need it."

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