Rye lays out mental health strategy

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By Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi

The Ryerson Mental Health Advisory Committee (RMHAC) presented a report for a campus-wide mental health strategy at a town hall meeting Thursday — closing off Ryerson’s Mental Wellbeing week.

In the report, the committee recommended that the short-term programs aimed at promoting mental health on campus should be integrated into Ryerson’s new academic plan. In the long run, the committee wants Ryerson to create a website for information related to mental health on campus and develop a plan to co-ordinate and enhance mental health services.

The town hall meeting was facilitated by award-wining journalist Valerie Pringle and featured a panel of Ryerson alumni.

One of the key issues that was touched on was better access to help for students and staff.

The huge demand for services means they cannot always help people right away. “Immediate care is for the severely sick and suicidal and unfortunately that creates a wait list for other students,” said Dr. Su-Ting Teo, director of student health and wellness at Ryerson and co-chair of the RMHAC.

Former Continuing Education Students’ Association (CESAR) vice-president of equity and events Matthew Cwihin joined the panel via Skype to speak about the role universities should play in their students’ mental well-being.

“Mental health in itself is a very broad term and students will come to an institution with issues that do affect their mental health,” said Cwihin.

Pringle said students should not be afraid to ask for help.

“There is no shame in it,” said Pringle. “There is absolutely hope especially if you get treatment early enough. We say to people ‘If you need help, get it, demand it’. It’s not always easy… people just have to scream and shout.”

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