The Canadian Mental Health Commission, launched August 2007, proposed to create a national mental health strategy with the release of the draft document, Toward Well-being and Recovery: A Framework towards a Mental Health Strategy for Canada, January 2009. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care released its document; Every Door is the Right Door - Towards a 10-Year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy: A discussion paper in July 2009. While both documents recognize the importance of targeting youth for interventions in order to improve population mental health, the reports overlooked the key role that colleges and universities play in promoting community mental health.
We, as Ontario College Health Association (OCHA), an association for college and university health services, are health educators/ health promoters, nurses, physicians, and medical clinic staff and managers, witness the devastating effects of mental illness on our students. Speaking from our shared experience as some of the front line care givers of students with mental illness, we will highlight in this report, the importance of targeting postsecondary students, the role that colleges and universities play in mental health promotion, and the barriers that prevent proactive and seamless mental health care on campuses.