We Need More Mental Health Services for Students in Canada

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Throughout the years where we assumed we were moving in the right direction concerning mental health issues, we have been instead worsening the problem. In the last 5 years, according to Ontario Universities, the number of students in college and university campuses with identified mental health disabilities has more than doubled. Additionally, in 2016, 46% of post-secondary students felt too depressed to function. In some cases, the problem got very severe, such as the recent suicide at the University of Toronto which distressed many students, and the public, including myself. This issue is also showcased in high schools as well, where 34% of high-school students indicate moderate-to-serious levels of psychological distress (according to CAMH).

Especially now with the Ontario government’s proposal for major education changes, such as bigger class sizes, there are less options for a student to take when they seek for help. When will students receive the needed 1-on-1 support from their teacher when there’s 28-29 other students who also need their attention? There is no more intimacy in teacher-student relationships where the teacher is able to truly help their students and support them. As a student myself who struggles to even raise my hand in class, not being comfortable enough around my teachers is an issue if I ever needed someone to turn to when I need help. Additionally, even if you tell a student to turn to a school guidance counselor, the wait times could be excruciatingly long. The ratio between students to guidance counselor per secondary school is 391 to 1.

That is why I am asking that we offer more ways for a student of secondary and post-secondary schools to receive more mental health services options. We don’t need more students in a classroom, we need more guidance counselors to help our students. We need shorter wait times for university and college students seeking help, where they won't have to pay more out of their pocket for external services when the school should be their first go-to.