April 23, 2021
TORONTO - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release the first policy paper approved by OUSA’s Spring 2021 General Assembly, Student Health & Wellness. The paper was written, approved, and published by students with the purpose of providing recommendations for improving student health and wellness.
"Health and wellness are priorities for many students, yet there are significant barriers to accessing programs and services that support their wellbeing," said Nathan Barnett, OUSA’s VP HR and VP University Affairs at Trent-Durham University. "Without adequate support from the provincial government, students will continue to face mental, physical, and sexual health challenges that will impact their ability to succeed in post-secondary education."
The paper identifies a number of student concerns centring around a lack of adequate support to address the mental, physical, and sexual health challenges that infringe on their ability to succeed in post-secondary and beyond. Students are particularly concerned about the growing mental health crisis, barriers to physical and sexual wellness, food insecurity, and insufficient health care coverage and accommodations. These concerns are not new, but many have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic leaving students in an increasingly precarious position as they struggle to maintain their wellbeing.
In response to these concerns, students have proposed a number of recommendations that provide the foundation for a comprehensive, student-driven approach to ensuring positive mental, physical, and sexual health outcomes for post-secondary students. Recommendations include a whole-of-community approach to mental health supports, harm reduction for substance use, access to sexual health resources, improvements to fitness and recreation programs, interventions to respond to food insecurity, and enhancements to health care coverage and accommodations.
"We are hopeful that the provincial government will adopt the recommendations in this paper as it is vital that students are able to live full and healthy lives," said Matthew Mellon, OUSA Steering Committee Member and Commissioner of External Affairs at the Alma Mater Society at Queen’s University. "We will continue to listen to student concerns and seek ways to improve the health and wellness services on our campuses."
This policy paper and its recommendations were developed by students at OUSA’s member schools. It was passed on March 21st, 2021 at OUSA’s Spring General Assembly, held virtually. To read it, click here.
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About: OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Communications and Operations Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
416-341-9948 |[email protected]