FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA, January 23, 2015 – The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is concerned with the state of mental health amongst Canada’s post-secondary students, stemming from a newreport by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). CASA was present at the launch of the MHCC’s report, which created the first set of national indicators that identifies and reports on the mental health of Canadians. In the report, the MHCC paints a stark picture of mental health and mental illness in Canada.
Youth and students at the post-secondary level are particularly susceptible to suffer from mental illness. The report highlighted that in 2013, 6.6% of students admitted to having intentionally harmed themselves. Anxiety and mood disorders are among the most common mental health conditions in youth and can negatively affect social and academic functioning. “Our organization is deeply concerned with the increase in mental health cases across Canadian campuses. Students are directly affected by mental illness, either through personal experiences or in the experiences of their peers”, said Travis Gordon, Board Chair of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations.
In 2014, CASA released a lengthy policy paper asking for federal intervention in implementing a mental health policy in post-secondary education, in addition to actively advocating on this issue to Members of Parliament. Among the recommendations put forward, CASA calls on the government to tackle stigma on campuses through active campaigns, improve mental health data, increase mental health investments, and reduce financial barriers for students in post-secondary. Moreover, during CASA’s annual Advocacy Week in November, delegates advocated for the renewal of the MHCC’s mandate.
“We support and stand by the great work of the Commission. We hope that these indicators lead to concrete policy changes that will positively affect students and youth”, said Gordon.
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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 280,000 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.
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Matthew Rios, Government Relations and Communications Coordinator
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