The importance of student voices

·2 min read

MONTREAL, Dec. 1, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - With anxiety, depression, stress, and suicidal ideation on the rise, it is now more important than ever to listen to what youth are saying and to address the growing mental health concerns among this population. Jack.org, Canada's largest youth mental health advocacy charity, recently released their 2020 Youth Voice Report, which draws on the voices of over 1,100 young people from all over the country.

ASEQ | Studentcare Logo (CNW Group/ASEQ)
ASEQ | Studentcare Logo (CNW Group/ASEQ)

The Youth Voice Report is timely, as serious mental health issues have seen a significant increase since pandemic measures began in March 2020. Alongside these alarming rates, the Youth Voice Report notes that there is a "crisis of access," with wait times presenting a significant barrier to accessing care. For example, the national average wait time for psychiatric services was 19 weeks in 2015, as reported by the Fraser Institute. These delays can have a major impact on a young person's well-being. The Youth Voice Report also notes that 74% of surveyed Jack.org members "agreed that long wait times to access resources were a barrier to receiving help in their communities." Other concerns raised include a lack of culturally sensitive resources and access in rural and remote communities.

Empower Me, provided by Studentcare, is a resource that can address a number of these needs. Support via Empower Me is available in multiple modalities to allow students to choose what feels right for them—there are in-person, telephone, videoconferencing, and mobile app options. During this unprecedented time when in-person sessions may not be possible, assistance is still available via online methods, and we have seen an increase in requests for support.

Empower Me is also culturally, faith, and gender inclusive. All Empower Me professionals go through mandatory sensitivity training before joining the program. In addition, students can request a mental health professional who speaks their language or has a particular specialty, such as BIPOC or LGBTQ+ issues; this increases the likelihood of a positive therapeutic relationship, which leads to better treatment outcomes.

Finally, Studentcare is actively working on an enhanced version of Empower Me for fall 2021, and as part of this project, we recognize the importance of student voices. We support students across the country and our work is always informed by research, data, and reports such as the Youth Voice Report. We thank Jack.org for their meaningful work and we remain committed to meeting young people's mental health needs.

About ASEQ | Studentcare

Founded in 1996 in Montreal, ASEQ | Studentcare is the leading provider of student health-care programs in Canada, administering plans for over 1 million members from over 100 partner student associations and post-secondary institutions. ASEQ | Studentcare and its Founder and CEO, Lev Bukhman, are both registered at l'Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF).

SOURCE ASEQ

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