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Mental Health at McMaster

McMaster Okanagan Office of Health & Well-being

Communication and Mental Health

The ability to express thoughts and emotions, as well as to actively listen, not only fosters understanding but also nurtures vital connections between individuals. Whether seeking support from friends, family, or professionals, the power of honest dialogue is immeasurable. It enables the sharing of burdens, the identification of coping strategies, and the breaking down of stigma surrounding mental health challenges. Ultimately, communication acts as a bridge to healing, offering solace, empathy, and hope for those navigating the complexities of their mental well-being.

McMaster Communication Resources

Professor Hippo-on-Campus Learn More

Professor Hippo-on-Campus program was created for faculty, staff and educators alike who play a part in mentoring, supervising, and interacting with students. They should not be expected to be mental health experts or counselors, but they are often ideally situated to recognize and respond to stressed and distressed students and to start important conversations and prevent unnecessary stress and distress. They must feel prepared and comfortable to address student needs in ways that are consistent with and appropriate to their roles. The Professor Hippo-on-Campus program has been designed and tested to help accomplish these goals in an accessible and engaging format.

Compassionate Communication Toolkit Learn More

During the pandemic, many members of the McMaster community have experienced struggles, losses, and challenges. The Compassionate Communication Toolkit has been developed to support staff, faculty and student leaders who want to learn more about how best to communicate with their team members or employees, with mental health and well-being in mind, as we transition back to campus.

Bounce Podcast Learn More

Bounce at McMaster is an initiative in which we share diverse, real stories told by McMaster faculty and alumni about their experiences as students, with a vision to build campus-wide resilience. By sharing stories through podcasts and videos, we hope to build a stronger sense of connection throughout our campus and to help students, as well as faculty and staff, to recognize that we are fellow human beings, all of whom can struggle and suffer during our lives.

How To...

Here are a few tips to help you in improving your communication with your family:

  1. Understand that communication is the building block to any relationship
  2. Realize that communication is a two-way process
  3. Being mindful of things that get in the way of good communication sometimes – like assuming & interrupting
  4. Practice and intention are important for good communication
  5. Practice active listening – a way of listening to others that lets them know you are working to understand the message they are sending
  6. Teach children how to communicate – children have to learn how to express themselves clearly and how to listen to others
  7. Understand the complexity of family communication – families are faced with balancing the needs and wants of many different people. Naturally conflicts are going to arise. Compromise does not mean that there is a winner and a loser—but rather that a “new solution” has been found.

Adapted from University of Delaware:

  1. Self-Reflect– consider what you’re experiencing and what the impact is
  2. Explore Your Comfort Zone– consider to what extent you’re willing to share 
  3. Start the Conversation– once you’ve decided to share your experience, set up a time to talk in private and share what you what you’re feeling, all within your comfort level 

Adopted from Harvard Business Review:

Forms of Communication to Improve Your Mental Health