blur-close-up-focus-574285.jpg

The Council of Alberta University Students is asking students who have been affected by the mental health funding that MacEwan University, Mount Royal University, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and the University of Lethbridge received starting in 2013 to share their stories with MLAs in hopes that the funding, which runs out in June of this year, is renewed.

CAUS encourages you to write from the heart and share how mental health and mental health services available on campus have touched your life. However, if you are stuck for words we have created the following letter templates for you to use or modify when writing to your MLA. We also suggest that if you are sending a letter or email to your MLA you send a copy of it to the Advanced Education Minister, Marlin Schmidt.

His email address is ae.minister@gov.ab.ca.

TEMPLATE LETTER ONE:

Dear Minister Schmidt,

I am reaching out to you as a student at the University of _______ to talk to you about mental health on my campus. In 2013, the Alberta Government announced 3-year mental health funding for post-secondary campuses, including my own. The funding is set to expire in 2016, and I am worried that the services students have come to rely on will not continue if the upcoming budget does not address this. 

This funding is extremely important. In the campus community, I have witnessed the daily stress and struggle of students trying to juggle their academics, extra-curricular commitments, part-time/full-time jobs, and anything that may be left of their social and family life. This juggling act is tough, and sometimes coping is not enough and we need to seek professional help. I cannot emphasize how valuable it is to have enough counselling services to meet the demand on campus that are free of cost so we can treat and prevent mental health issues now – rather than later as they become more costly. 

I know that the Mental Health Review was released recently, and I noticed that post-secondary mental health was not one of the six recommendations the province promised to prioritize. Do you have any insight on this? What can we do, as students, to ensure that this funding gets renewed?

Looking forward to your response,

____________