Universities prepare to watch out for students showing signs of distress

August 12, 2011

Universities across Canada will be keeping a watchful eye on their students, looking for signs of distress as the fall term kicks off. Many institutions are training residence dons and faculty to spot struggling students, part of a larger effort that has seen schools introduce suicide awareness campaigns, wellness classes, and stress-management workshops in recent years. The push comes as campus clinics scramble to assist a rising number of students seeking help for conditions such as depression, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress. Demand for mental health services "has grown exponentially" in the last decade, says the head of McGill University's mental health clinic, which last year saw about 1,500 new students in addition to those who return year-to-year, totalling more than 18,000 visits. Queen's University is expanding its mental-health services in the wake of the deaths of 6 students, at least 2 to suicide, in the last year. Over the summer Queen's hired 2 more counsellors, a mental health nurse, and a second part-time psychiatrist. Canadian Press