Post-Secondary Mental Health

Approximately 1 in 5 children and youth in Ontario have experienced a mental health challenge. It is also estimated that about 70% of mental health challenges have their onset in childhood or youth.  Children and youth show their problems in different areas of their lives and in a variety of ways. For example, a student who functions well at home may face challenges in another setting—such as in the classroom or with peers—that may negatively impact their mental health. Some young people may show signs of anxiety or depression, while others may exhibit aggression, become involved with the justice system, or have difficulties with substance use.

Spring 2016 National College Health Assessment (NCHA)1 National College Health Assessment. (2016, September 19). The Ontario University and College Health Association Media Advisory. Retrieved from http://oucha.ca/pdf/2016_NCHA-II_WEB_SPRING_2016_ONTARIO_CANADA_REFERENCE_GROUP_EXECUTIVE_SUMMARY.pdf, a national online survey that collects information on students’ health behaviours, attitudes and perceptions, indicated that depression, anxiety and suicide attempts are increasing among Ontario’s post-secondary students.

  • 46% of students reported feeling so depressed in the previous year it was difficult to function (increased from 40% in 2013);
  • 65% of students reported experiencing overwhelming anxiety in the previous year (up from 58% in 2013);
  • 14% had seriously considered suicide in the previous year (up from 11% in 2013);
  • 2.2% of students reported a suicide attempt within the previous year (up from 1.5% in 2013);
  • 9% had indicated that they had attempted suicide, but not in the previous year

These statistics indicate the importance of putting the right resources in place to make sure that post-secondary students are getting the support that they need.

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1. National College Health Assessment. (2016, September 19). The Ontario University and College Health Association Media Advisory. Retrieved from http://oucha.ca/pdf/2016_NCHA-II_WEB_SPRING_2016_ONTARIO_CANADA_REFERENCE_GROUP_EXECUTIVE_SUMMARY.pdf
Mental Health