Montreal universities see uptick in student requests for mental health help during pandemic

MENTAL HEALTH

Some Montreal universities are seeing an uptick in requests for mental health services during the pandemic - and they are trying to provide as many services as possible to help students.

UQAM told CJAD 800 they had 237 requests for help with issues related to mental health between May and September this year - 86 more than last year during the same period and a hundred more than the previous year.

Wait times for an appointment went from a day or two up to a week for a first appointment with a healthcare professional during the summer session to a wait of two or three weeks now.

The Université de Montreal said they expect a busy November, after seeing a spike in cases of distress so far, with final numbers to be tallied in December. Last spring saw stable numbers.  The university said "the pandemic appears to have inevitably affected their community like everywhere else."

"The reality of students has changed while the motives for consultation are influenced by this new reality: loneliness, adapting to online learning, anxiety linked to COVID. So we adapted the services we offer to deal with this," said spokesperson Julie Gazaille.

McGill said it doesn't have such data but they, like other universities, are offering virtual consultations. 

McGill said they've added new services at the McGill Student Wellness Hub since the pandemic began, including "group programming which are offered remotely as as well via limited in-person appointments." They're also offering live online meditation and relaxation sessions on Facebook and virtual art workshops.

UQAM spokesperson Jenny Desrochers said their psychological support services went online as of March 13 but they also provide in-person consultations depending on students' needs.. They also offer activities such as virtual coffee meetings and webinars related to psychological support and help for online courses for the coming winter session.
 

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