Change is coming to the University of Toronto. A stronger push for mental health services has resulted in the U of T's CAMH partnership aimed at providing more help to students and making it easier to access. The move comes after a report, which followed recent tragic incidents, found that this kind of assistance had been lacking on campus.

The school announced this week that it would be teaming up with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health after an independent internal task force spoke with students and highlighted their mental health concerns.

The university is now making an effort to change that after recent tragedies. In September, a student's death at the Bahen Centre was the St. George campus' fourth suicide since June 2018.

"The perception that U of T does not care about student mental well-being is a narrative that needs to change," reads part of the report.

"Across the entire institution, we must strive towards being known as a place where people feel welcomed, valued, and supported."

The published report by the internal taskforce found that students want easier access to information about mental health resources. They also called for centralized services to be available across all three campuses.

Students are also calling for easier ways to communicate with health and wellness centres, which would also include an updated booking system to make it easier for requests.

"Specifically, we heard again and again that we cannot address and support mental health and well-being at the University of Toronto without looking at the fact that our culture may be an important contributing factor to the challenges that our students face," adds the report.

The student-run taskforce effort had spent months speaking with other students, staff, and faculty across all three campuses at U of T.

This is where they found and laid down the 21 recommendations on the table. The university has accepted all of those suggestions.

The university states that it will take immediate steps to "harmonize" mental health services, boost funding and wellness, as well as work towards a "stepped model of care" to help students' specific needs.

CAMH president and CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn shares that the organization will provide the necessary tools to help aid and assist the uni with this stronger approach.

“Mental health challenges commonly arise at a time of intense life transitions, and a focus on the health and wellbeing of young people is central to realizing future potential," says Zahn.

"CAMH will contribute the expertise and experience of leading youth mental health clinicians and researchers to assist the University of Toronto in carrying out this serious and important work.”

Last year, the government of Ontario invested a total of $25 million to put therapists and even mental health staff in high schools.

But this effort only came after Premier Doug Ford's government announced some serious health cuts in the province, including mental health.

The school hopes that this will also benefit students at other schools and universities that are dealing with the same issues around mental health.

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