University of Windsor Takes Aim at Mental Health Services


The University of Windsor has launched a new strategy aimed at improving mental health services for students.

The strategy was prompted due to an increase in the number of students seeking help.

Over the next five years, the university will invest an extra $1.15-million in mental health initiatives including two new full-time positions and resources for a wellness fund.

At the university's Student Counselling Centre, the number of students accessing its services increased from 782 in 2013 to 898 in 2017.

Campus police are also reporting a rise in the number of mental health and crisis calls over the past several years.

The strategy, based on data gathered from 2015 to 2018, includes 39 recommendations such as creating a student wellness centre and a more co-ordinated online mental health presence.

Associate Vice President of Student Experience Ryan Flannagan says the strategy is about addressing any gaps in services noting the university is in the top range in terms of access to counsellors compared to other universities in the province.

"We only have so many resources, we only have so many counsellors, you just can't throw unlimited money at this, you have to do things smarter, you have to do things better and so the strategy is looking at current services and how can we add to those services, but also how can we improves our processes," he says.

"Anxiety is something that a lot of our students have and so when you are doing exams, there is anxiety that goes with that and so it may be that you are in a position where there is something going on in your life or that particular exam that is coming up and you just can't manage that particular day at that particular time."

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In 2016-17, physicians in the Student Health Services had 1,754 mental-health-related appointments.

There are 15,500 students at the university in 190 undergraduate programs, 65 graduate programs and six professional programs.