Western University promises action to improve mental health services
The commitment follows a student referendum demanding change
The vice-provost academic at Western University, John Doerksen says the university will take action to improve mental health services on the heels of a student referendum demanding change.
Nearly 90 per cent of students voted last week to make mental health and wellness a high priority in Western's strategic plan.
Doerksen acknowledged on CBC's London Morning program Tuesday that the school needs to work harder at meeting students' expectations.
"We have across Western a very wide collection of services, but I would say that we haven't co-ordinated them as effectively as we can."
The university has developed a draft student mental health and wellness strategic plan. Doerksen said there are four pillars of the plan: to promote resiliency, provide effective health communications, examine the stresses of academic life, and to ensure that school has accessible and effective mental health services.
A 'one-stop shop approach'
Doerksen said one of the big changes the university is working on is a "one-stop shop approach" to mental health services.
Currently, he said, students are able get mental health services in many different areas on campus, but the administration wants to provide better coordination and offer services under the umbrella of a health and wellness centre.
"So a student can come to one place, and if you need to see a physician because you've got the flu, that's one thing, and if you need to see a counsellor … you just come to one place, " said Doerksen.
He said the university is working now to align many of these services and will attempt to bring them to together under one roof "within the next few years."
"It'll be a priority. I don't know all the details just yet, but this is, at least, a vision of how we're looking forward."