UWaterloo creates advisory committee on mental health in wake of student suicides

Posted on April 10th, 2017

The University of Waterloo (U of W) is establishing an advisory committee on mental health, according to a Mar. 27 press release from Feridun Hamdullahpur, president of U of W.

The creation of the committee came as a response to a widespread call for improvement to U of W’s mental health services after a student died by suicide on Mar. 20, and an earlier suicide in January.

The committee will be responsible for “guiding a listening process that will seek to gain further input from our local community, other institutions and external experts,” the release said.

Matthew Grant, director of media relations at U of W, said the committee will “allow people to bring forward ideas, comments and concerns that will be collected, and then recommendations will be made.”

An online petition calling for U of W to improve mental health services caught the attention of media and university administration after garnering 14,999 signatures.

Nicole St. Clair, a second-year political science student at U of W, said she started the petition after she heard about the Mar. 20 suicide, and she has been involved in the establishment of the committee.

“I told them that we know what’s best for us, so it’s really important to engage us in conversation and ask us what we think would work because we kind of know how we need to be helped,” she said. “I’m really pleased that the committee’s going to be starting up and getting some feedback and hopefully some solutions will be coming about soon.”

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