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OUSA Mental Health Lobby Day Wrap Up


Hey Badgers, its Alyssa, BUSU Vice President, External Affairs, and here is a February advocacy update for your reading pleasure! 

On February 27, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) partnered with Chegg, an online educational support service for students, to host a student mental health lobby day at Queen’s Park. Over the course of the day, a team of OUSA representatives consisting of myself, Vivian Chiem, Abigail Samuels, and Samantha Brown, had the pleasure of meeting with MPP’s and their staffers to build awareness surrounding the importance of student mental health.

The day started with an early morning train ride down to Toronto, where I got to experience a morning in the life of a GTA commuter. When I had finally made my way across town to Queens Park, I found myself being ushered into a breakfast reception being hosted by Chegg. Over a plate of French toast, hash browns, and bacon, I chatted with a number of political representatives about the increasing importance of ensuring that students have access to mental health care that is timely, culturally relevant, accessible, and representative of their lived identities; a standard of care that is currently not being met within today’s post-secondary climate.

Armed with four evidence-based and student created policy recommendations, our lobbying team headed into our first meeting of the day with Tay Rubman, a representative from the office of the Minister of Colleges and Universities. Over the course of this meeting, we answered questions related to the post-secondary student experience and delivered our four recommendations:

  1. The Ministry of Colleges and Universities should provide assistance and continuous funding, under the Mental Health Worker Grant, to post-secondary institutions to recruit and hire diverse front-line campus-based mental health workers such as staff who identify as BIPOC and/or 2SLGBTQIA+.
  2. The provincial government should establish long-term funding for on-campus wellness centers and create a plan for sustainable service provision, which will provide these centres with the proper funding to support shorter wait times.
  3. The provincial government should mandate that post-secondary institutions should not require a student to be re-diagnosed with a disability to qualify for accessibility support.
  4. The provincial government should develop a series of best practices that support post-secondary institutions in partnering with local healthcare providers to provide acute and long-term treatment, psychiatric treatment, counselling, health promotion, and preventatives action on campus; and provide directives to triage students appropriately.

Over the course of the day, our team delivered these same recommendations three more times to Kevin Lynch, a representative from the Premier’s Office, MPP John Fraser, and MPP Mike Schreiner.

Although this is only a small glimpse into the work that is involved in the advocacy process and there is still much more work that needs to be done in the name of student mental health, being invited to the political table to start having these conversations is a great first step.

That’s all for now Badgers and thank you for following along with my February advocacy update!

Till next time, Alyssa