BoG Student Rep. Nathaniel Black

decreasing wait times for mental health counselling

Mental healthcare is critical to students who are in the midst of unprecedented times with increases in depression rates, anxiety, and angst with the growing uncertainty around job opportunities and the ability to afford their education. Nathaniel is aware of these issues and, through his advocacy on the Board of Governors, seeks to tackle the root causes by pushing for lower tuition prices and increased supports for students through COVID-19.  

See What People Are Saying

The goal is to reduce wait times and increase quality clinical services on campus.

Nathaniel's plan

To seek support for his motion in principle that commits the university to a ten-year goal of a ratio of one counsellor to one thousand students culminating in a full-time counsellor staff of 32-35 mental health professionals. The budgetary cost associated with 32 counsellors is estimated at between $1.9 million to $2.2 million by 2030, with additional expenses related to office space and auxiliary clinical staff. Nathaniel proposes the marginal increase of the health & counselling fee and the creation of a self-replenishing fund designed to meet hiring targets year over year

Main arguments in favour of the 10-year plan

The window of 10 years allows for the steady marginal increase of the heath & counselling fee and provides for flexible financial planning to meet the 2030 goal. In addition, in principle, the commitment would act as a soft direction to the administration and university management as opposed to a rigidly ambitious policy imposed by the board.

Note: The Carleton University Act grants the board the power of the purse and the ability to manage all non-academic services or matters unrelated to the curriculum. 

One counsellor's ratio per one thousand students equates to the proportionate use of hourly appointments of an average of six to an overall addition of 1,488 counselling spaces per academic year. Therefore, each counsellor would see an average of 400 students for four appointments per year with flexibility and consistency. As a result, wait times would be between 1-2 weeks instead of 2-3 months by the completion of the 10-year plan.

Why are students struggling?

Catharine Munn is a lead psychiatrist in the Student Wellness Centre, and an associate clinical professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences, at McMaster University.

Link to University Affairs

Mental Health Framework 2.0 2015

The Student Mental Health Framework 2.0 emerged from the need to continue the conversation of well-being and mental health on the Carleton University campus that started with the first Student Mental Health Framework in 2009. The scope has since expanded to include proactive and preventative strategies in building a holistic, campus-wide approach to mental health and well-being. 

Learn More

One Size does not fit all

This is the fourth story in a four-part series about the transition between high school and "the real world" — whether that's college, university, the workforce or something completely different.

Link to Global Report

Nathaniel's message to board members

Dear Governors,

All 789 students who voted for me in February voted in favour of this plan for an enhanced campus mental health clinic targeted toward building community resilience, dealing with anxiety, and ensuring continued wellbeing. I implore you to review this proposal as it is both fiscally viable and much needed for students living with the weight of the current times. I look forward to discussing this further with you. Do not hesitate to reach out. 

See What People Are Saying

2-3 month wait times are too long, and students are paying the price with our wellbeing.