The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is pushing for the government to provide more mental health support on post-secondary campuses.
CASA's Jan. 9 policy paper, ‘Breaking Down Barriers: ‘Mental Health and Canadian Post-Secondary Students," outlines the asks. The paper speaks to the role that the federal government has to play in terms of mental health and post-secondary education. The paper states, “While education is generally a provincial responsibility in Canada, the federal government has an active and very important role to play.”
USC vice-president, Landon Tulk, supports CASA’s policy paper.
“The report compliments the recommendations released in our 'In It Together' OUSA report that highlighted 26 specific provincial recommendations focused on supporting students' mental health in Ontario,” Tulk said. “The discussion needs to continue to happen both at the provincial, federal, and even local level to build a community of care and support to meet the needs of all students' mental wellness.”
Angela Wang is a third-year HBA candidate and a photographer and videographer for Active Minds at Western. She finds CASA’s findings consistent with reports that mental health problems are prevalent and growing among post-secondary students.
“I think it's important to keep investing in research about this issue. We need to constantly be accountable by evaluating our progress on mental health issues,” Wang said.
Wang also supports CASA’s policy paper and thinks the federal government does have a role to play when it comes to post-secondary students' mental health.
“The federal government invests significant amounts of money in post-secondary education to remove barriers,” Wang said. “I think the purpose of this investment needs to evolve... And currently, the issue that students need the most help with is mental health.”
CASA's paper also outlines what students need and some of the mental health barriers to success on post-secondary campuses in Canada. CASA lists them as such: academic accommodations, stigma reduction, mental health care support services and financial accessibility.
Wang said that although things at Western are not perfect, students are lucky to have a wealth of resources and an active conversation about mental health, but she addressed concerns for those school that do not have the same.
“At some schools, resources are inaccessible and confusing to navigate, and the stigma against mental health is strong,” Wang said. “These schools need the money to make their resources streamlined and more effective, and I think the federal government has an important role to play.”