On World Mental Health Day, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) appealed to the federal government for its role in providing enough funding for mental health initiatives on Canadian campuses, prompting the hashtag, #mentalhealthmatters.
The New Abnormal, a report by CASA published in 2022, shows that students across Canada are becoming increasingly concerned about their mental health. The study, conducted by Abacus Data, found that wait times and the caliber of the treatments available were the two biggest hurdles to access, with 1 in 3 students reporting that mental health facilities at post-secondary schools do not satisfy their varied needs.
The federal government agreed to launch a new fund for student mental health in 2021. The fund entailed a pledge to support the hiring of additional mental health counselors, decrease service wait times, improve access in general, and enable tailored support for Black and racialized students at post-secondary institutions across Canada.
According to CASA, the promise has yet to be fulfilled by the government, and they had hoped to see an announcement of funding allocated in the 2023 federal budget.
"In speaking with students across Canada, mental health is among the top concerns we hear," said Sadie McAlear, Chair of CASA. "Without access to affordable and convenient mental healthcare, students suffering from poor mental health are left to weather their storm alone."
CASA calls on the federal government to make the financial decisions necessary to keep its promises to students. They believe additional funding is necessary for post-secondary institutions to improve their support to students in dire need of these services. In the upcoming year, students want to witness action.