PEI

UPEI Student Union hopes to add mental-health position

A draft to explore hiring a wellness officer was recently presented at a council meeting.

'It’s really a role that will be able to help students navigate what are the different options'

UPEI Student Union President Emma Drake sits down with CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin to discuss the position of wellness officer, which the union is hoping to add. 4:26

The UPEI Student Union is hoping to add a new position focused on mental health. A draft to explore hiring a wellness officer was recently presented at a council meeting.

"We're looking at three key parts of mandate for this role," said union president Emma Drake.

The first part is connecting students on campus with various on- and off-campus services pertaining to mental health. The second part of the role is to look at training and education opportunities for students. And the third is being a liaison with various groups that are working to address mental health, Drake said.

Drake said students are constantly bombarded with information on mental health and she thinks it would be a good idea to add a person to staff who can facilitate the process of finding help.

"Whether it is the phenomenal team of counsellors at student affairs on campus, Jack.org, who is a student advocacy group on campus, or looking at working with the Canadian Mental Health Association," Drake said.

A draft proposing the new mental-health position at the UPEI Student Union was submitted on Sunday. (Al MacCormick/CBC)

"A key point person to help students navigate what are the options, what is currently available."

Drake said the union does consultations with students every spring and over the last few years mental health has continued to come up.

"We've seen consistently mental health is ranked in the top three priorities of students year over year," Drake said.

Priority for next year

Drake said the draft proposing the new position was submitted on Sunday and so far the feedback on the idea has been good.

'It's really a role that will be able to help students navigate, what are the different options,' says UPEI Student Union president Emma Drake. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

"We are very happy to see that councillors were very supportive of this and had voted to approve this motion," Drake said.

What that means is the union will look at the position as a priority when it comes to budgeting for the next school year.

"I think now that we have council's approval, obviously looking at the budgetary aspects."

Drake said it is important that the person in the role is not viewed as a counsellor or someone to provide specific advice on mental health.

"It's really a role that will be able to help students navigate, what are the different options," Drake said.

More P.E.I. news

With files from CBC News: Compass

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.