Off Course on Campus: the crisis in student mental health

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Off Course on campus

The Student Mental Health Crisis

A growing number of post-secondary students face mental health challenges. Meet some of these students, find out how institutions are addressing the issue, and explore what needs to be done to better support the post-secondary student population.

As part of our series, CBC Toronto hosted a Town Hall meeting to gather together students, their families, healthcare workers, mental health advocates and administrators who have either dealt with mental health issues themselves or support students with mental health challenges. Thanks to everyone who joined us!

Find our more about our special guests, contribute your thoughts and best wishes online, read our news stories and catch up on the questions and answers in our archived live chat.

video Off Course On Campus Town Hall Part One

Join CBC's Matt Galloway as he talks to a panel of mental health advocates at a town hall at Rotman School in Toronto. Oct 11 video

video Off Course On Campus Town Hall Part Two

Matt Galloway opens the floor for questions. Panelists and guests Alicia Raimundo, Ayesha Jabbar, Tayyab Rasid discuss tackling the stigma of mental health. Oct 11 video

video Off Course On Campus Town Hall Part Three

Matt Galloway takes questions from the audience regarding the role of parents, adequate training for post-secondary staff and the warning signs of a mental health crisis. Oct 11 video

video Off Course On Campus Town Hall Part Four

Panelists discuss how universities and colleges can better manage the growing mental health needs of students and looking at what initiatives have been successful in tackling the crisis. Oct 11 video

Add your voice to the conversation now!

Students and student advocates are already sending in their ideas and messages of support.

View their messages and upload your own. What needs to be done to better support the mental health of students? What advice do you have for a young person who feels like they can't cope?

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Our Panelists

Rachel Cooper

Rachel Cooper
Rachel Cooper

Rachel Cooper is a part-time student at the University of Waterloo, majoring in social development. She has struggled for much of her life with depression, ADHD and learning disabilities.

In 2004, she enrolled full-time first at Waterloo, then transferred to York University; but found her first year a difficult adjustment and socially isolating. She took time off and volunteered overseas as a paramedic. She eventually returned to Waterloo, initially full-time, and now part-time.

Now in recovery, Rachel strives to live a balanced, meaningful life. In addition to her schooling, she works in the recreation and leisure industry. She lives in Toronto.

Terry McQuaid

Terry McQuaid
Terry McQuaid

Dr. Terry McQuaid is a Registered Clinical Psychologist. She is the Director of Counselling and Accessibility Services at Seneca College where she leads a staff of 32 in providing individual counselling, instructional strategy training and accommodation planning for students with mental health issues and/or disabilities, academic counselling and assessment of program needs and student abilities and assessment of learning problems for students in academic jeopardy.

Previously, she worked with the York Region District School Board where she was a Psychologist within the Complex Needs Services team overseeing the assessment and crisis response to teaching staff, regional behavior teams and caseload service providers within the board. She has also worked at the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre (a secure custody facility) training frontline staff in behavior management practices for youth with complex mental health issues and addiction and risk management in areas of self-harm and suicide. Other prior positions include providing psychological services to hospital, university counselling centers, private clinics and corporations including the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, York University, the Traumatology Institute of Canada and Ontario Addiction Treatment Centers.

Janine Robb

Janine Robb
Janine Robb

Janine Robb joined the University of Toronto as the Executive Director of Health and Wellness in 2009. Health & Wellness is a resource for students that includes primary health care, counselling and psychological services, and health education and promotion, serving a population of more than 55,000 students. As director, Janine actively pursues a broad health and mental health agenda, leading initiatives that have included campus-wide anti-stigma campaigns and health/mental health education programs for student leaders, staff and faculty. Janine also leads work aimed at increasing access to health and mental health services through building strategic partnerships and collaborative programming across the campus and with other stakeholders.

Currently, Janine is overseeing the establishment of a Mental Health Advisory Committee that will develop a mental health strategy for the University. Janine is frequently called upon to support efforts to better understand developments in student mental health on university campuses. She currently is the President of the Canadian Organization of University College Health. Prior to joining U of T, Janine held an administrative directorship role at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) where she initiated the Early Intervention Program in Mood Disorders, a collaborative project with the Canadian Mental Health Association. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Toronto, and Master of Science from Warnborough College, Ireland.

Eric Windeler

Eric Windeler
Eric Windeler

Eric Windeler is a father and full-time advocate for youth mental health. The Jack Project is the legacy of his son Jack Windeler who in March 2010, as a first-year student at Queenʼs University, tragically and unexpectedly died by suicide.

Eric started The Jack Project with his wife Sandra Hanington and their closest friends in May 2010.Since then, Eric has put aside his business interests to lead the charity full-time. Eric has an instrumental role in all aspects of the project and works tirelessly to inspire discussion about mental health, especially among young people. His efforts extend to fundraising and partnership development with key mental health experts and organizations across the country. These efforts extend the reach of The Jack Project to include Unleash the Noise, the first student-led mental health innovation summit in Canada, and Ride for Jack, Canada’s bicycle ride for youth mental health. Eric also sits on the board of Partners for Mental Health, a national charity.

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