TORONTO, Oct. 15, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario universities have worked
collaboratively to help faculty identify students in distress as a
result of anxiety and other mental health issues, and provide
information on removing barriers from every aspect of campus life
through a resource-rich website called www.accessiblecampus.ca.
The website being launched today by the Council of Ontario Universities
(COU) features educational videos to raise awareness about mental
health and practical tips on everything from how to plan accessible
lectures and meetings to making exam time less stressful.
"I applaud COU's new website," says Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of
Economic Development, Trade and Employment. "Its comprehensive
information and wide range of tools shows the Council's exemplary
leadership on accessibility. I am confident the website will inspire
others as we work together to build a province where everyone has the
opportunity to contribute and enjoy a high quality of life."
The new website is the country's most significant aggregation of
resources for helping universities make their campuses accessible for
students with disabilities and to comply with the Accessibility for
Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
"All universities in Ontario are focused on student success," says Max
Blouw, Chair of COU and President of Wilfrid Laurier University. "That
is why our sector has worked together to develop this website of
resources to help break down barriers and give faculty and staff the
tools they need to ensure students can realize their goals."
The website also provides important resources on mental health. Raising
awareness about mental health among students is essential because 70
per cent of problems such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse and
eating disorders have their onset during childhood or adolescence,
according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
"With an increased number of students presenting with mental health
issues, some of our young people face barriers that may prevent them
from fulfilling their potential and following their dreams," says COU
President and CEO Bonnie M. Patterson. "Universities are working hard
to connect students to the resources they need, whether in the
university or in the local community."
COU is providing a series of educational videos on mental health that
will be made available to faculty. They include insights from students
who found the help they needed as a result of the services available on
campus, as well as advice from mental health experts and university
The videos include tips on how to recognize signs that a student is in
distress, such as withdrawal from group discussions, less eye contact,
weight loss and a change in appearance.
They also suggest ways in which faculty can remove barriers for students
with mental health issues by providing more time to write exams,
providing a quiet room to complete tests and ensuring students aren't
facing two or three final exams in a single day.
Visit the new website.
One in five Canadians every year experiences some form of mental
In the last decade, the number of registered students with disabilities
at Ontario universities has grown. In particular, universities have
seen an increase in the number of students coping with mental illness.
University administrators, faculty and student groups are making
increased awareness about accessibility for people with disabilities
and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness key priorities.
Young people aged 15-25 are more likely to report mental illness than
any other age group: CAMH.
COU is a membership organization of 21 publicly assisted universities in
Ontario. It works closely with the provincial and federal governments
to shape public policies that help universities deliver high-quality
programs for students and advance the research and innovation that
improves the social, cultural and economic well-being of Ontarians.
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SOURCE: Council of Ontario Universities
For further information:
For further information, or to arrange an interview please contact:
Director, Strategic Communications and Media Relations
Telephone: 416-979-2165 x233
Email: Wendy McCann