Our last mini survey asked members to give their feedback on the resources available on-campus and their restructuring under the Wellness Hub. We had received qualitative feedback from our members about their experiences with the Wellness Hub after McGill consolidated all of its health services under one roof last year, but we wanted to get some data to back up these claims.
The results of our survey do not paint a picture of a very accessible healthcare system:
74% of respondents indicating that they experienced long wait times to access mental health care at McGill;
60% had difficulty scheduling an appointment;
48% experienced limits on the number of counselling sessions that they could access;
43% of respondents noted that they were pressured to take a non-clinical option over clinical care;
33% noted a lack of available options for care after certain services were discontinued at the Wellness Hub (such as the Eating Disorder group); and,
22% reported trouble finding a healthcare professional.
0% of the respondents reported that they had “no issues” at all with accessing care at the Wellness Hub.
Clearly, there are some barriers to accessing mental health care while enrolled as a student at McGill. The biggest barriers deterring respondents from seeking mental health care were:
Difficulty in making an appointment on-campus (i.e. a long time on hold, administrative unresponsiveness), 74%;
Long wait times on-campus for a clinician, 65%;
The prohibitive cost of off-campus care, 63%;
Confusing on-campus system, 53%;
Statements or attitudes from a faculty or staff member at McGill (e.g. stigmatizing mental health care, dissuading you from seeking care), 39%;
Cost of medication, 33%.
In December 2019, AGSEM’s President and TA Bargaining Chair met with several senior administrators of Student Services and the Wellness Hub to discuss issues graduate student workers face with accessing the services provided by the Wellness Hub. We noted that with the turn towards peer support systems rather than clinical care has the risk of pairing Teaching Assistants, Course Lecturers, and other student workers with their students in support groups. We also brought attention to the number of students who require emergency mental health support during the final exam period. As it stands, there are not enough health resources in the Fieldhouse Complex where the majority of undergraduate exams are written. AGSEM intends to continue these conversations in the future to find solutions to the issues of mental health care access facing both students and student workers at McGill.
AGSEM’s Mental Health Working Group is also working on several initiatives to move the conversation forward on health care access on campus. Did you see us in the news? The Working Group delivered feedback from attendees of the mobilization to Principal Fortier this week. If you have any concerns with access to mental health care on campus and/or are interested in joining the Mental Health working group, email firstname.lastname@example.org!