Western University opens after-hours mental health walk-in clinic

Western University is opening a confidential walk-in clinic on campus to help students who are dealing with a mental health crisis.

The clinic will be funded through a 3-year $236,000 grant from the London Community Foundation

The London Community Foundation is funding an after-hours mental health crisis walk-in clinic at Western University. (Dave Chidley/CBC)

Western University is calling a new after-hours walk-in clinic for students dealing with a mental health crisis "a game-changer." 

The clinic is being funded by a three-year grant from the London Community Foundation. The grant is worth $236,000. 

"This recognizes the dire need some students have, particularly during high-stress times such as exams and end of semester," said Cynthia Gibney, director of Western's Student Health Services. 

Western, King's University and Fanshawe College are partnering with the Canadian Mental Health Association. It's believed to be the first collaboration of its kind in Canada. 

"Mental health issues among young people have become a real problem, not just at Western but at post-secondary institutions across Canada, and we need to provide supports that make sense for them during tumultuous times." 

The University Students' Council asked for the partnership because many students were using the walk-in crisis centre operated by CMHA Middlesex on Huron Street. 

The walk-in clinic for students will be staffed by crisis counsellors, with peer-support volunteers in the reception area. 

The clinic is free to undergraduate and graduate students. There will also be satellite clinics at King's University College and Fanshawe College. 

The clinics will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from Nov. 21 to Dec. 14, and will resume next semester. 

"Too many young people are falling through the cracks in our mental health system. We are proud to support this initiative that will help support early intervention and help bridge the gap so that students can receive the care they need, when they need it," said Martha Powell, president and CEO of the London Community Foundation.