The kids aren’t alright: It’s time to get serious and invest in student mental health

Posted on March 19th, 2018

Here’s an unsettling fact. One of Canada’s most-renowned universities, with a student population the size of a small city, is chronically reliant on philanthropic donations to meet the demand for on-campus mental health programs.

Let’s think about that for a second.

Imagine having to scramble every year for donations simply to meet a minimum service standard. Now imagine being an institution without the luxury of a large rolodex of donors – relying only on tuition fees or internal funding.

That’s the reality facing most Canadian post-secondary institutions. Ontario-based colleges alone spend $165-million more for mental health services than they receive in provincial funding.

It’s unacceptable. Especially as rates of anxiety, depression and suicide surge in our country’s student population.

While Canada has shown tremendous global leadership around mental health, we’re falling behind the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and others on student mental health. From a lack of provincial strategies to an absence of 24/7 supports to a tepidness towards piloting new technologies, we’re shortchanging our next generation.

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