Skip to main content

Among the changes university health professionals have seen is increased stress from growing cultural diversity, as well as changed academic expectations.

iStockphoto

From the stresses of intercultural dating to increased expectations of getting As, experts reflect on what's changed over the past 15 years.

As a psychologist at the University of Toronto Scarborough and co-chair of postsecondary student mental health with the Canadian Association of Colleges and Universities Student Services, Tayyab Rashid has been well positioned to observe the state of mental health among Canada's universities over the past 15 years.

"Trends I've seen is more severe cases, more chronic cases and more crises," he says.

Story continues below advertisement

One change in particular that he notes is that as some Canadian campuses have become dramatically more diverse over the last 15 years, particularly in urban areas, counselling centres still lack culturally specific competence.

He uses the example of a South Asian, Muslim student dating someone from another culture, and feeling that she cannot talk to her parents about the relationship. These are the kinds of stresses that can affect students' mental health and the kind that Canadian universities need to be aware of and to help resolve Dr. Rashid says.

Stanley Kutcher, a psychiatry professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax and the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health, says that the level of expectations, both from the students themselves and their families, has become a greater factor adding to stress in the past 15 years.

"The expectation is that everybody gets an A," he says. "It's a real issue. We've had grade inflation [in high school] for two decades."

Verity Turpin, the assistant vice-provost of student affairs at Dalhousie, says what has changed the most in the past 15 years is the way that university health services collaborate with each other, from counselling services, to doctors or social workers. Dalhousie is in year three of a five-year strategy to examine how the university supports students' health and wellness.

"Before we had all these great services working almost in isolation and not strategically," she says. "Now we are working much more intentionally with our students and using data and research to inform how we make those investments and how we work."

The school now has a building dedicated to interdisciplinary health models, to better serve the students.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter