Queen’s Park – An alarming report released by the Ontario University and College Health Association confirms that there is a mental health crisis in Ontario postsecondary institutions, with 2016 survey results showing that student mental health has worsened since 2013. Addressing the report, the President of the Association said, “lives are at stake.”
In Question Period today, London West MPP and NDP postsecondary education critic Peggy Sattler pointed out that “in my own community of London, the new 24-hour mental health crisis centre has been overwhelmed by college and university students since it opened its doors in January this year.” She called for a coordinated provincial strategy for student mental health, rather than project funding, and urged the Liberal government to “commit to moving forward immediately with a province-wide strategy for mental health services on Ontario campuses.”
She cited 2016 survey results that had increased significantly since the survey was last conducted in 2013, with 65 per cent of Ontario students reporting overwhelming anxiety in the previous year, 46 per cent feeling so depressed in the previous year that it was difficult to function, 13 per cent having seriously considered suicide in the previous year, and 9 per cent attempting suicide.
“I have been asking this government …. students have been asking this government … to make mental health services on campus a priority now,” Sattler said. “Again to the Acting Premier, will he commit today to ensuring that young people struggling with mental health crises don’t have to wait for access to the supports and resources they so urgently need?”
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