- Active Minds Western
- Sep 20, 2018
Active Minds Western, the largest student-run mental health club on campus at Western University, has made their voices heard regarding the current mental health landscape on campus. The Advocacy Portfolio within the club released a paper titled, We demand more: A pathway to mental health reform at Western University on March 24, 2018. The paper will serve as the foundation for the club’s further efforts regarding mental health advocacy.
The paper is a cumulative effort of the work of a team of eight students, who have conducted independent research, consulted with key stakeholders, and performed collaborative reviews since May 2017. Their goal is to influence the University’s administration to put forth legislation, delegate resources and implement changes to make the campus environment more conducive to mental health and wellness. This action follows the realization that a mental health crisis currently exists not only on Western’s campus, but all post-secondary institutions across the country.
The key themes of the paper are Prevention, Electronic Mental Health, Equity, and Community Partnerships. The broad perspective of these themes encompasses the many improvements that can be made to change the mental health landscape at Western University. Eleven key recommendations in conjunction with these themes outline tangible actions the University should take to combat the mental health crisis on campus.
Key recommendations include:
- Incorporate Mental Health Education during Orientation Week
- Plan a Broader Transition to Electronic Mental Health Services
- Employ Diverse Mental Health Care Professionals
- Improve Transparency on Policy Reforms
Active Minds Western’s recommendations are modeled after the strategic plans of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services and the Mental Health Commission of Canada. To serve the diverse student body at Western, Active Minds Western conducted independent research uncovering the attitudes Western University students have towards mental health. A survey conducted between November 2017 and January 2018 collected nearly 700 responses, from mostly undergraduate students. The results of the survey were used to shape the eleven recommendations, to ensure that they meet the specific needs of Western students.
Noteworthy findings from this survey include:
- 55% of respondents struggle or find it very difficult to maintain their mental health
- 83% of respondents would not approach a professor regarding any mental health issues
- 92%, 72%, and 61% of respondents cite academics as causing difficulty in managing time, emotions, and social interactions respectively
Active Minds Western is committed to advocate for better mental health awareness, resources, and services for students. The paper will guide the efforts of the club for years to come, and hopefully lead to collaborative discussions and subsequent action from influential Western administrators. To ensure that these recommendations are implemented as soon as possible, Active Minds Western plans to work with other student groups (e.g., University Students’ Council) and key Western stakeholders (e.g., Student Mental Health and Wellness Advisory Committee), who can implement effective mental health strategies. It is time to change the mental health landscape at Western University, and Active Minds Western is taking significant steps towards resolving this pressing crisis.