On Jan. 11, McMaster Daily News published an article by Catherine Munn, an associate clinical professor from McMaster University’s psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences and lead psychiatrist at the McMaster Student Wellness Centre.
Titled ‘Why are so many students struggling with mental health?’, the article discusses the factors that may lead to why students are struggling with mental health and the support systems in place, both on and off-campus, for those who find themselves struggling. It also demonstrates that students are in severe need for better mental health support on campus.
From inadequate funding for Student Accessibility Services, severely long wait times to see a counsellor and over 23,000 students accessing support from SWELL, it’s interesting to see that candidates in the McMaster Student Union presidential election aren’t prioritizing mental health in their campaigns.
Out of the four candidates in this year’s race, only three of them have a single platform point related to mental health support on campus. Out of these three, only one platform is feasible in theory, while still remaining financially unclear.
Generally, once these platform points are simmered down, they don’t amount to anything more than a relatively ambitious and opportunistic points to gain your vote. Each platform that has a talking point about mental health support has no plan that is feasible or realistical to implement structures that support students on and off-campus.
Sure, there is only so much that can be done within a year’s term. But within a year’s term, the MSU president’s role is to advocate on behalf of students and to bring your concerns to higher levels of governments and to university administration.
We can turn these talking points into feasible opportunities to support those who are struggling on campus by prioritizing their needs over self-indulgent platforms from our presidential candidates.
So let’s be clear, we can do a whole lot better for the many students who are struggling with mental health.