OTTAWA, January 9, 2018 – Today, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) published a policy paper entitled, Breaking Down Barriers: Mental Health and Canadian Post-Secondary Students. This paper delves into what mental health looks like currently on post-secondary campuses in Canada, and what steps the federal government can take to make improvements in the lives of those struggling.
Students in Canada continue to face numerous challenges to their mental well-being. With increased awareness and rising rates of mental illness, campus counselling and other mental health services are often overwhelmed. In fact, the percentage of students prescribed psychiatric medication has risen from 9% to 24.4% in ten years, and wait times for on-campus counselling can be up to 2 or 3 months.
“We know that about half of the students struggling with mental health issues will experience the onset of them during their post-secondary studies, and that the earlier you start providing treatment, the better,” says Michael McDonald, CASA’s Executive Director. “This is why it is crucial that mental health be addressed on post-secondary campuses, and that supports be made easily accessible for those who need them, when they need them.”
Making mental health supports accessible is one of the primary focuses of CASA’s paper, with current costs and wait times of such services often being too prohibitive for students. Additionally, the stigma and lack of knowledge that still surrounds mental health issues can deter students from seeking help at all.
Mr. McDonald continues, “When dealing with mental illness, having the right supports and services can make all the difference. We believe that the federal government has an important role to play in adequately supporting existing student mental health services and initiatives, as well as in exploring new ones.”
For a more complete understanding of student mental health and to see what steps CASA recommends the federal government take, please read the full policy paper. The full paper is available to read in PDF format or in an accessible Microsoft Word format.
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, national student organization composed of 22 student associations representing 255,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality.
Lindsay Boyd, Communications and Public Relations Officer
Phone: 613-236-3457 ext. 224