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Press Release | May 4 Forum | Mental health, post-secondary and local government leaders explore innovative mental health solutions for students

MPP Daiene Vernile, BEACON, Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union and Student Affairs and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance address issues regarding on-campus mental health resources

WATERLOO – Campus mental health issues and access to supports on post-secondary campuses are a growing concern. On May 4, 2018, prominent mental health, post-secondary and government leaders will meet at Wilfrid Laurier University to discuss new opportunities to meet the demand for increased on-campus mental health resources. The conversation will explore innovative solutions and be led by respected sector leaders including Kitchener Centre MPP Hon. Daiene Vernile, Colin Andersen, Executive Vice President of BEACON and former deputy minister of Ontario, David McMurray, Vice President of Student Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University, Sophie Helpard, Executive Director of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and Shannon Kelly, Vice President, Student Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union.

“It’s crucial that we continue to have these conversations and work to improve the mental health resources available to students on post-secondary campuses across the province,” says MPP Daiene Vernile. “We are passionate about this issue which is why we’ve committed to significantly increasing on-campus mental health resources over the next four years.”

Demand for more on-campus mental health resources has continued to rise over the years. In 2016, a survey from the National College Health Assessment revealed that one in three Canadian post-secondary students experience issues with mental health. Reports of serious mental health crises such as thoughts of suicide were also higher than previous results.

“Our primary goal is to shape an enriching learning environment where students feel supported by the university community, particularly when they are faced with challenging personal conditions,” says McMurray. “Student mental health is a top priority for us and we are continuing to make new resources including digital mental health treatment available to students.”

Two-thirds of those suffering from mental health issues in Canada are not getting the treatment they need due to a number of barriers, including affordability, accessibility and stigma.

“There is a growing concern about the need for on-campus care for students, and post-secondary institutions are enhancing their support and growing their wellness centres to address this need. Integrating digital mental health solutions on campuses is a natural fit with this generation of students. As an effective, affordable and accessible option, we’re excited that BEACON is able to provide them with easy access to the support they need,” says Andersen.

The panel discussion is open to members of the media and public, and will take place on May 4 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Laurier in the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall on the Waterloo campus.

BEACON is an easy to access and affordable therapy solution that helps people overcome mental health problems including mood and anxiety disorders. Developed by CBT Associates, Canada’s largest single private provider of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), BEACON provides care and treatment through digitally delivered CBT with the one-on-one support of a dedicated therapist all along the way.