Langara announces new mental health framework
New framework commits to improving access to mental health support for students and staff
Reported by Kristian Trevena
Langara has finally released its Mental Health Framework, which aims to increase mental health awareness and initiatives on campus. Some students are hoping the framework will live up to its commitments and improve on difficult-to-access services at the college.
The framework, which was announced in November 2018, is a three-year plan consisting of commitments to “set the foundation for a mentally healthy campus.” Its 2018 and 2019 commitments include fostering warm, welcoming, safe spaces within and beyond the classroom; integrating mental health and accommodating information into curriculums, classrooms and orientations; and increasing opportunities for various types of mental health training.
Long waits in the past
Hanniya Zohdi, a student at Langara, said she hopes this framework will not only erase the stigma around mental health, but provide quicker response times from counsellors. In the past, Zohdi said she has had to wait up to two weeks for an appointment.
“Because my appointment was scheduled two weeks later, it was harder for me to come in for my appointment on a day that I didn’t have school because of the cultural stigma at home. If they found out that I was seeking a counsellor, that would have caused more trouble,” Zohdi said. “It would have been so much easier for me to see someone that day or the next during school hours, so I didn’t have to leave the house and seek help.”
“We’re constantly looking for ways to be as responsive as possible”
While some campuses offer personalized contact services to students enrolled at the school which allow them to text or call and immediately get mental health assistance, Langara does not.
Tim Charters, assistant department chair of Langara counselling, said that while wait times for counsellor appointments are consistent across most post-secondary campuses, Langara is trying to improve their system.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to be as responsive as possible,” Charters said.
Tanya Miller, Langara’s mental health initiatives consultant, said the framework was created to better streamline mental health services that already exist. One of the goals of the framework is to encourage help-seeking behaviour.
“The overall objective is to change the culture on campus,” Miller said.