The mental health and well-being of post-secondary students, whose lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic, are the shared responsibility of educators and policy-makers alike.
That’s the message Cheryl Regehr, the University of Toronto’s vice-president and provost, delivers in a recent op-ed co-authored with the provosts of McGill University and the University of British Columbia. The piece, published in The Hill Times, urges governments to work with universities and colleges to help students overcome mental health challenges.
“There is no question that sustaining the mental health of our students requires a national strategy that involves partnerships between universities and public actors at all levels of government,” the authors write, noting that universities have taken steps during the pandemic to make mental health and academic support services accessible by telephone or online.
“As we begin to emerge from the crisis, all of us in the post-secondary education community will need to redouble our commitments to advancing student mental health, recognizing that our future depends on it.”
The authors go on to write that schools are ready to meet the National Standard on Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students, but that success will require enhanced partnerships with local and regional mental health services, and in more serious cases, with hospitals.
“Work with us to build and fund the structures and supports necessary to overcome the mental health challenges facing our students and set them up to succeed.”