UPEI Student Union hopes to add mental-health position
'It’s really a role that will be able to help students navigate what are the different options'
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 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.
"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.
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With files from CBC News: Compass