Mental health appointments rise by 73 per cent over last five years

2017-18 Student Wellness Services Report details persistent wait times

The total service appointments made between 2017-18 were 45,173.

Mental health appointments rose by 73 per cent in the last five years, according to the most recent annual Student Wellness Services (SWS) report.

The report highlighted that in 2017-18, LaSalle saw a significant increase in clinical appointments: 2,562 appointments took place in a day, with no decline in wait times.

The report also showed, “[m]ental health service demand far outpaces enrollment growth,” which correlates with a 13 per cent increase in enrollment and 73 per cent increase in mental health appointments over the past five years.

The total service appointments made between 2017-18 were 45,173, compared to the previous years, 39,095—marking a 15 per cent increase.

The most common issues students are facing, according to the report, include 25 per cent anxiety, 14 per cent depressed mood, 14 per cent relationship challenges, 12 per cent stress and coping, and 10 per cent adjustment to life events. The report also indicates the counselor or psychologist to student ratios are 1 to 1,225.

Meanwhile, SWS outlined the workshops and group-based support offered throughout the year, focusing on promoting health literacy across campus.

There were a total of six different group activities, such as Mind and Methods, Mental Health Hacks, and Stress Management. Out of the 45,173 clinical appointments made by students in 2017-18, a total of 500 people participated in group-based support events, according to the report.

Similarly, a student survey provided feedback on the service received.

The result showed that over 90 per cent of students reported they had a good or excellent experience with the service and provider. Over 94 per cent of responses showed they’d been treated with dignity and respect, while 75 per cent of students responded with very good or excellent experience with the wait time for their appointment.

Additionally, SWS included a report from the National College Health Assessment, which provides a snapshot every three years of student health and wellness that helps inform programming and mental health services in Canada. In 2016, 83.3 per cent of Queen’s students responded they would seek a mental health professional if they had personal problems.  

In the future, SWS aims to increase options for group-based programming, such as support and discussion groups, increased focus on health promotion and prevention, optimizing technology, accessible learning, and staff wellness.

In a statement to The Journal, Executive Director of SWS, Jennifer Dods, wrote the report was a testament to the work done by SWS staff members.

“The annual report speaks to the incredible amount of work that is done by the SWS in a collaborative effort to meet student needs,” Dods said. “It also highlights the rising demand for services and the need to continually access our service delivery models and adjust as the needs change.”

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