In the upcoming USC elections, students will be asked the following question: “Would you like to see student mental health and wellness included as a high priority of Western’s Strategic Plan in perpetuity, potentially at the expense of the funding and support of other priorities?”

Without a doubt, we believe that students should vote "YES.” This is an opportunity to start a dialogue between students, the University Students’ Council and Western University’s administration about the need to improve mental health services.

We know that this plebiscite will provide a clear indication on what undergraduate students desire with regards to these critical services. Active Minds Western has always been and always will be student-run and student-focused. As a mental health club working to reduce stigma surrounding mental health, we also want to advocate for better services to support student mental health and wellness.

For far too long, we have heard countless stories of students struggling with their mental health and feeling a lack of adequate support. Many conversations about Western’s mental health and wellness resources end with stories of confusion, a lack of understanding of marginalized experiences and a lack of followup support. Change is necessary. While admirable individuals who provide great mental health resources exist, there is always room for improvement.

We are adamant about the fact that as mental health service demands increase, there should be further action taken regarding the necessary funding and support to the providers of these services. It’s important that we, as a student body, recognize the importance of mental health and that we’re taking steps to further a dialogue about necessary change. While this vote will not determine any direct allocations of funds, it’s a demonstration that shows students want this to be a priority. We need to speak up. To show that students are tired of the status quo. To express that mental health services need to be improved, and that this must be a priority of both the USC and Western’s administration.

We need to use the power of student voices to show that we are demanding this change. It is not acceptable to see the status of mental health services remain stagnant. There needs to be accountability, a push towards better services and a conversation about prioritizing student mental health and wellness. This is why we’re voting “YES” to mental health. And you should too.

— Active Minds Western