Eli Ridder | Report
The University of Guelph responded to a series of mental health stories published by The Avro Post this week, saying that the well-being of students is the university’s “top priority”.
Following a tweet that went viral blasting mental health supports from student Victoria Raymond, Guelph’s Vice Provost of Student Affairs Carrie Chassels meet with Raymond and her peers to find solutions on Tuesday.
“The university appreciates the input of our students and having heard from them, we will now move ahead and take action,” communications director Lori Bona Hunt told The Avro Post in an email Wednesday.
“It is our hope that the current social media discussions will soon end, as they are harmful to many of our most vulnerable students, especially when misinformation is shared” or when others make “disparaging comments that make students believe they are being mocked or bullied.”
Vice Provost Chassels said in a statement emailed to The Avro Post on Tuesday that the University of Guelph “has one of the most robust mental health systems for assisting students in Canada.”
“We want to assure all students that numerous mental health services and resources are available through the University, including immediate assistance and support for students assessed as requiring urgent critical care. “
The mental health advocate with the viral tweet, Victoria Raymond, said her and three other students had a “constructive talk” with Ms. Chassels on Tuesday afternoon, a discussion the vice provost said lasted two hours.
Article: Carrie Chassels Meeting
The group put forward suggestions, including the ideas to “provide a longer fall break, to increase awareness of services available on campus, and to make mental health education and training modules available to students both in person and online.”
The University of Guelph’s mental health portal has an extensive amount of recourses for students to access via the Counselling Services homepage, with options for students to take in a variety of circumstances.
Better supports than city
Chassels said in her statement to The Avro Post that Guelph, like other universities, is “seeing a steady increase in the number of students experiencing anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges.”
Guelph works closely with the Canadian Mental Health Association to provide “help and resources” to the student community.
The university takes an “integrated approach” to student wellness with 23,000 students on our Guelph campus have access to 16 counsellors, two full-time equivalent psychiatrists and a team of family physicians.”
This beats the City of Guelph’s four provincially supported mental health counsellors, according to 2017 figures, Chassels said.
“Our campus services include early warning programs, peer helpers and residence life assistance; counsellors available through our Student Counselling Services; psychiatrists in Health Services; programs in our Wellness Education Centre; and a Student Support Network with drop-in hours.”
Chassels noted that there are free off-campus resources too, including the Good2Talk helpline, the HERE-24/7 helpline, the Distress Centre and a crisis text line through Kids Help Phone.
More details to follow. Image of the University of Guelph from OneClass.