Ottawa, October 10th, 2023 - Today, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is recognizing the importance and impact of mental health supports on post-secondary students in Canada, and the role that the federal government has in ensuring there is adequate funding for mental health initiatives on Canadian campuses.
As evidenced by CASA’s 2022 report The New Abnormal, mental health has been a growing concern among students across Canada. Conducted by Abacus Data, the study concludes that 1 in 3 students reported that mental health services at post-secondary institutions do not meet their diverse needs and that the top barriers to access included wait times and quality of services available. In a 2021 mandate letter from the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the federal government committed to introducing a new fund for student mental health. This fund would fulfill a platform commitment to support the hiring of new mental health care counselors, improve wait times for services, and increase access overall and enable targeted supports to Black and racialized students at post-secondary institutions across Canada.
Students across the country were pleased to hear of this announcement, and looked forward to receiving the mental health supports that they desperately needed. However, this promise has unfortunately gone unfulfilled by the government. CASA had hoped to see an announcement of funding allocated in the 2023 federal budget, but was ultimately disappointed by a lack of mental health action.
“In speaking with students across Canada, mental health is among the top concerns we hear,” said Sadie McAlear, Chair of CASA. “Without access to affordable and convenient mental healthcare, students suffering from poor mental health are left to weather their storm alone. Myself and students across Canada are hoping to see the promises made by this government come to fruition in this year’s budgetary cycle.”
CASA urges the federal government to take the fiscal steps needed to fulfill their promises made to students. Post-secondary campuses drastically need the support to enact positive changes in their mental health supports, and commitments are not enough. Students hope to see action in the coming year.
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is a non-partisan, not-for-profit national student organization composed of 25 student associations across the country. Through our partnership with the Quebec Student Union/Union étudiante du Québec, CASA represents 365,000 post-secondary students across Canada.
Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
Communications and Creative Content Officer