Message from Naheed Bardai, Head, Middle Division
DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love shared their experiences with depression and anxiety and acknowledged the challenges it has posed for both of them. As a basketball coach at the College, I know how much our boys look up to these athletes as role models. It’s inspiring to see some of their role models having the courage to be vulnerable in front of the world.
Love, in his essay in The Players’ Tribune, reflected on why it’s so challenging for boys and men to open up about mental health. He stated:
“Growing up, you figure out really quickly how a boy is supposed to act. You learn what it takes to ‘be a man.’ It’s like a playbook: Be strong. Don’t talk about your feelings. Get through it on your own. So for 29 years of my life, I followed that playbook … these values about men and toughness are so ordinary that they’re everywhere … and invisible at the same time, surrounding us like air or water. They’re a lot like depression or anxiety in that way.”
We had an important assembly about mental health during the same time as Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign a few weeks ago. We addressed the importance of mental health and how to seek support if needed. All of this has happened at the same time as our recent launch of the College’s strategic directions. Of the highest priority for our College is well-being as a fundamental pillar of our direction going forward and a foundational value of our institution.
In our strategic directions, we state:
“To foster individual and institutional well-being, UCC is committed to a learning and working environment that is safe, healthy, meaningful, engaging and supportive. A UCC education equips each boy with the capabilities to develop the knowledge, self-awareness and strengths of character that enable lifelong resilience, and allow him to flourish.”
As we approach the March break, check-in on your boy around mental health. How’s he doing? How is he managing his stress and anxiety, recognizing that all human beings have stress and anxiety? How developed are his coping tools?
At the same time, check-in on your own mental health. You may be going through your own challenges. Are you ready to be vulnerable with your boy? If you’re interested, read this resource to support parents in conversations with their children around a parent’s mental health.
Please be reminded that today was the last day of school. It won’t be open on Friday, March 9.
Have a peaceful and enjoyable March break.