Canadian students aren’t getting the mental health care they need after graduation

Posted on March 29th, 2017

Universities offer students mental health care to deal with the challenges of post-secondary education. But what happens when they graduate?

University counselling centres in Canada are overwhelmed and overbooked. But for the lucky students like me who are able to snag a few sessions, the experience is often bittersweet. Counsellors form bonds with students, peeling open wounds from their past, beginning the work of repair. But after graduation, the relationship ends, sometimes abruptly.

When given a list of external options, some feel like they don’t know where to start. A graduate experiencing anxiety or depression can find it difficult to take the initiative for their own well-being. Faced with researching the right clinic, wait times, weekly payments, and the prospect of rehashing old stories all over again, some graduates fall through the gaps. Tasks, such as finding a new job or apartment, might take precedence over finding a new therapist—even if, in reality, the latter might help with the stress of the former.

Meanwhile, university counselling centres won’t do any hand-holding in the transition process unless they deem the situation severe. Most counsellors only track a student’s move through a casual phone or email follow-up. But as the variety of services and their different pay models increase, so too does the confusion over how to access them. Canadian youth, often in no shape to wade through the mess alone, need help getting help—and that’s just not happening.

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