May 21, 2021
OTTAWA, ON – Today Matt Gagné, President of the Carleton University Students Association (CUSA), is calling on Premier Ford, Prime Minister Trudeau and Mayor Watson to address the mental health crisis on campuses that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“Pre-COVID 19, our campus’s mental health safety net was already under extreme stress, and the effect this pandemic has had on our post-secondary student’s mental health cannot be ignored,” Gagné stated.
CBC Ottawa released an article earlier this week highlighting that the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) believes mental health is the next pandemic; they have never seen a demand for mental health services like the situation we are in today, and that they could turn to adult hospitals as cases surge.
“CUSA understands that our universities do not have the fiscal infrastructure to tackle this issue alone, it is too large of a problem. We need all levels of government to collaborate with universities and student unions on a Post-Secondary Mental Health Action Plan urgently,” Gagne added.
Earlier today, Gagné met with the Mayor of Ottawa and released an open letter to Premier Ford, Prime Minister Trudeau and Mayor Watson. CUSA has also contacted the Carleton University Administration and other student unions from across Ontario in hopes to create a committee for a grassroots campaign to drive the issue forward. The union also hopes to involve the local community and mental health organizations to help knock on the doors of all levels of government.
“We all heard the Premier’s reopening plan yesterday. We have much to celebrate as the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight, however, as we prepare for bringing life back to normal, we cannot return back to the mistakes of 2019. Let’s use this pandemic as an opportunity to create a stronger, more sustainable mental health strategy going into the post-covid world,” Gagné concluded.
Additional Quotes from the President:
- “Mental health may be the next pandemic for our communities, but it is already a crisis on our campuses that has been ignored for far too long.”
- “As resources become more scarce in light of the surge in demand for mental health services, we at CUSA are concerned for the well-being of Carleton Ravens and all post-secondary students.”