Student Spotlight: Jessica Crawford breaks the stigma of mental health

Nursing student at George Brown and Ryerson talks mental health

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Jessica Crawford | Photo: Renuka Malhotra / The Dialog

Jessica Crawford, a third-year nursing student now at Ryerson University, explains that over the past few years her life has changed many times.

Crawford was the president of the George Brown Canadian Nurse’s Student Association and then formed a campus chapter of Jack.org, an organization that works to raise mental health awareness. Along with this Crawford was involved with advocacy to help students.

Before coming to George Brown Crawford was enrolled in kinesiology program at Western University.

“When I was at Western, in my first year I became really depressed and I didn’t really know it until four months in and then I had suicidal ideations and I was hospitalized,” said Crawford. “Then I took a break, found out I needed medication and got some counselling.”

Things were good for a few years but as her busy winter semester ended Crawford’s commitments, such as organizing Mental Health Awareness Week at GBC’s Waterfront campus, also ended and things took a turn for the worse over the summer as she had more free time on her hands.

“My anxiety was through the roof, I was nauseous all the time and now I’ve developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is a physiological side-effect of anxiety, and I’m back in a cycle of depression.”

Angela Gallant, health sciences academic advocacy co-ordinator at the Student Association of George Brown College said, “Crawford created and worked overtime to bring the Mental Health Awareness Week to the Waterfront campus last year, is involved with Jack.org and many other things. She also suffers from anxiety and depression and is truly an inspiration to other students.”

Crawford is a fighter and credits her loved ones for support.

“If I didn’t have all of the people I can talk to, I wouldn’t be here,” said Crawford. “I have a great family, a loving boyfriend, tons of friends that I feel comfortable to talk to.”

What concerns Crawford, is the need for a people to be considered brave enough to share their experience of mental health and thinks that talking about mental health should be more accepted.

Crawford is also a highly creative person, who runs her own website and said, “It is helpful in my struggle to be able to express myself, through my posts, poetry and paint. Those are really good ways to express (myself).”

If you know any of a student who has been an inspiration for others, share their story with us and get them featured in The Dialog. Email us at dialog@georgebrown.ca tweet us at @DialogGBC or call us at 416-415-5000 Ext. 2764

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Student Spotlight: Jessica Crawford breaks the stigma of mental health