An On-Campus Mental Health Clinic Would Help KPU Students in Need

Opening such a facility would assist those asking questions or in crisis

(Thomas Buecking)

There are currently 90 walk-in mental health clinics in B.C. Anyone suffering from high levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health maladies can drop into these clinics without the hassle of having to make appointments or get a referral from a doctor.

Recently, the University of British Columbia opened a mental health clinic on its Okanagan campus. Students and staff there have the ability to visit the trial facility every Thursday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm until Nov. 29.

“I want to see care for physical health and mental health viewed together as a necessity,” said Lesley Lutes, an associate professor in psychology at UBC, in a press release on the university’s website. “Mental health services should be just as accessible and a right that everyone has.”

Although many see physical injuries as more serious than mental illness, both your body and mind need to be taken care of in order for you to be healthy. Inevitably, ignoring the needs of one will negatively affect the other.

With a walk-in mental health clinic available on KPU campuses, students would be able to get the treatment they need much faster. Family doctors commonly hear about mental health concerns from their patients, but few are trained to provide them with adequate treatment. By having both a mental health clinic and psychical health clinic on or near campuses, more people can be seen, reducing the line at family doctors’ offices.

As UBC likely will, KPU would benefit from introducing these walk-in clinics to its campuses. Students often struggle with high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Research has shown that people aged 15 to 24 are the most likely to battle with a diagnosable mental illness.

The Kwantlen Student Association held a stress relief week from Nov. 19 to 22 to try to alleviate such struggles. While this is a helpful initiative, it’s a fleeting one. Creating a place that students can access at any time for stress relief would help support those with mental health concerns. For the KSA, it could mark the next step in providing essential student resources on campus.

Romanticizing the idea of being a stressed-out, sleep-deprived 20-something in university frames the idea of needing help as trendy. This way of thinking has the potential to hurt students. Instead of making light of mental health difficulties, people should seek help when they can, and for many, a walk-in clinic would be the perfect place to go.

KPU counsellors are often very busy, which sometimes leaves students in crisis stuck in long waiting lines. Those who are unable to get assistance during traumatic or significant points in their life can quickly become at-risk, and having a walk-in clinic on campus could help stop this sort of spiral before it starts.

The day that KPU has a walk-in clinics on campus may or may not come. For the time being, suitable clinics exist in Richmond, Vancouver, Langley, and multiple areas around Surrey including Guildford and Cloverdale. There’s always a place to get help near you.

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