Quebec creates a research observatory on student mental health

Quebec creates a research observatory on student mental health

Quebec creates a research observatory on the mental health of students

Getty Images iStockphoto The new observatory will conduct a survey on student mental health in order to assess its evolution over time.

When you are driven by performance and you have to succeed at all costs despite the pressure of work and exams, your mental health can suffer. In order to have a clearer portrait of the mental state of CEGEP students and university students, Quebec is launching a new observatory.

The Minister of Higher Education, Pascale Déry, announced Tuesday morning at the University of Sherbrooke the creation of the Observatory on student well-being and mental health in higher education.

To do this, Quebec is investing $2.8 million over five years. The research project will be co-directed by researchers from the Université de Sherbrooke and the Cégep de Jonquière.

The work of the observatory will be led by Julie Lane, associate professor at the Faculty of Education of the University of Sherbrooke, and Benjamin Gallais, researcher at the Center for the Study of Living Conditions and Population Needs (ECOBES) at Cégep de Jonquière.

This project aims to “document the state of mental health of the current student population in Quebec”, states in the press release accompanying the announcement.

The objectives of the observatory are to monitor and monitoring, research and knowledge development, adapted training and knowledge mobilization.

In addition, the observatory will have the mandate to conduct a national survey on student mental health in order to evaluate its evolution over time.

According to Benjamin Gallais, more than 160 people are already collaborating with the observatory in Quebec, Canada and internationally. Six Quebec colleges are currently members of the observatory.

Speaking on behalf of Professor Lane, who was outside the country, project coordinator Félix Guay-Dufour added that the structure will be made up of “researchers, practitioners, but also a large number of students”.

These “will have important roles to play”, he insisted, both in governance and in ensuring that research activities are “well grounded in the real needs of students”. /p>

At a press conference at the Université de Sherbrooke, the minister acknowledged that better mental health support would also have a beneficial effect on graduation.

Let's talk about anxiety disorders, depression or other problems “it comes to slow down the academic journey a little, it's inevitable”, conceded the minister.

“It is clear that if we are able to intervene and help these young people, it will help with perseverance, it will help with success. It will allow us to graduate them and ensure that they can complete their academic career, “she continued.

In a testimony delivered by video, the chief scientist of Quebec Rémi Quirion said he dreams of the day when you can talk freely about your mental illness like you can talk about heart disease or even cancer.

“Very often, people who suffer from heart disease or cancer have the support of relatives, friends and colleagues. Too often still, with mental illnesses, we are afraid to talk about it. We are afraid of being stigmatized. »

The creation of the observatory is part of the Action plan on student mental health in higher education (PASME) 2021-2026.

Minister Pascale Déry revealed that the action plan is already producing results since 10,179 more students have been able to benefit from mental health services, which represents an increase of 23%.

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