Ontario universities are bolstering mental health resources for the fall, but students say barriers to access persist
For university and college students, exercising resilience during the pandemic has been difficult. Online classes, isolation, dwindling job prospects, financial stress and the fear of COVID-19 itself have all weighed heavily on their psyche — and many were already struggling with mental health issues and heightened stress before 2020.
Some students are now gearing up for a return to campus and in-person learning in the week of Sept. 9, for the first time since the pandemic emerged. But how are Ontario universities preparing to meet the physical and mental health needs of students on campus after a year of them being away, especially as worries increase over the Delta variant and mounting pandemic-related stress?
“I have seen a lot of students taking leaves and dropping out because they are unable to cope with the demands of school when their mental health has already been so gravely impacted by the pandemic,” said Michele Foster, a clinical psychologist and co-director of the Toronto Psychology and Wellness Group clinic.
“It’s important for schools and professors to be as flexible as possible,” Foster said, adding resilience isn’t as strong as it used to be for many students.