Students complain of lack of services, long wait times
The Fine Arts Students Alliance (FASA) conducted the second round of its Mental Health and Wellness Survey at the end of last semester. The coordinators will present the results at the faculty meeting in April and propose initiatives that will address the students’ needs concerning mental health and well-being.
On Jan. 17, FASA coordinators had a first chance to look at the survey results. Louise Campion, FASA’s communications coordinator, said that among the students’ answers, the ones that stood out were the lack of communication about mental health services by the university and the long process before having access to therapy.
“There are a lot of complaints about how long it can take to get a therapy session and then that 10 is not enough,” Campion said, referring to the 10 free sessions of individual counselling available to Concordia students.
The purpose of this second round was to obtain more feedback from Fine Arts students on their mental health, as well as their experiences with mental health issues and services. “Last year, there was a lack of communication about the survey and we got less than 60 answers […] and now we have more than 300 answers, so it’s better,” Campion said. She added that results from last year’s survey will not be mixed with those collected in the fall.
After looking at the results, Campion said “clearly, there’s a lack of mental health services from the point of view of the students.” She also said students reported that “Fine Arts students don’t always have the time to go [to] the H building and wait in line for two hours to get a first appointment at triage.”
One of the results that stood out was the amount of time respondents claimed to have spent on course material. “In a studio class […] we’re counting more than 10 hours of homework per week per class,” said Campion.
With the survey complete, FASA coordinators want to hire professionals who will organize the data and create a visual presentation that they intend to show at the faculty meeting in April. “The point is to go to the faculty meeting already with initiatives to be taken,” said Campion. “We want a full plan.”
FASA’s survey was not the first to assess students’ feedback on mental health services at Concordia. “We conducted a short survey a year and a half ago, asking students what they were looking for in terms of counselling services,” said Howard. Magonet, director of Counselling and Psychological Services at Concordia. “We’ve taken the information that we’ve gleaned from that survey and we use [it] at the same time when we are revising our service delivery model.”
Between now and April, FASA coordinators will compile project ideas to propose that will answer the students’ needs based on the answers they provided in the survey. Campion expressed FASA’s desire to implement concrete changes. “The actual goal is to make things change, propose new initiatives […] at the FASA level, at the Concordia level, and if needed at the Montreal level.”
Graphic by @spooky_soda.
A previous version of this article stated that “The purpose of this second round was to obtain more feedback from Fine Arts students regarding their experience with mental health issues and services.” The sentence now reads: “The purpose of this second round was to obtain more feedback from Fine Arts students on their mental health, as well as their experiences with mental health issues and services.” In addition, the sentence “FASA’s survey was not the first assessment of students’ feedback on mental health services at Concordia,” now reads “FASA’s survey was not the first to assess students’ feedback on mental health services at Concordia.” The Concordian regrets the errors.