More campus mental health services to help keep university students healthy

TORONTO, March 26, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario universities are committed to supporting good mental health for our students, and the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) applauds initiatives announced today by the province to boost services and promote healthy minds.

"Universities are committed to providing the best possible learning experience for our students and it is vital that we ensure support for students facing challenges from mental health issues," says Alastair Summerlee, Chair of COU and President of the University of Guelph.

"We commend the government for providing this new level of support for our students."

Bonnie M. Patterson, COU President and CEO, says Ontario universities are working hard to prevent mental health issues, and to help students deal with them by creating healthy learning and work environments that are critical to promoting health in individuals and the broader community.

"We know that the majority of students are in the demographic most likely to experience the onset of mental illnesses, and so we welcome these government initiatives that will help us provide good care for our future leaders," says Patterson.

Ontario universities have seen an increase on campuses in both the complexity and number of students with mental health issues. Statistics Canada reports youth aged 15-24 are most likely to suffer from mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety, personality disorders (including eating disorders), first onset psychosis, suicidal behaviours or substance dependence.

The government's proposed new measures including a 24-hour hotline for postsecondary students and a centre for innovation in campus mental health were announced today by Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Brad Duguid. The centre will be run in partnership by the COU, Colleges Ontario, the College Student Alliance, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division.

COU is a membership organization of Ontario's 20 publicly assisted universities and the Royal Military College of Canada. It works closely with the provincial and federal governments to shape public policies that help universities deliver high-quality programs for students, and the research and innovation that improves the social, cultural and economic well-being of Ontarians.

Quick Facts:

  • The Canada Campus Survey reports that youth, aged 15-24, are the most likely demographic to suffer from certain mental disorders or substance dependency problems
  • The Canada Campus Survey reports that students are more likely to suffer from psychological distress than the general population, or the general youth demographic.

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SOURCE: Council of Ontario Universities

For further information:

Wendy McCann
Director, Strategic Communications & Media Relations
T: 416-979-2165 ext. 233
C: 647-271-0825


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