Dear Editor,

On behalf of the University’s administration, I want to respond to the recent letter to the editor concerning uOttawa’s mental health services. Our community was deeply saddened by the tragic incident last week and I want to assure all members, especially students, that uOttawa is fully committed to ensuring the well-being of our students and staff and ensuring they have access to the services they require. We want everyone who is part of our campus to be able to access the tools they require to succeed in their studies and work and to be able to participate fully in university life. This, of course, includes having access to mental health services.

We know that one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness during their lives and that young people are particularly vulnerable. At uOttawa, we strive to ensure students can access the services they require either through SASS or other means. While SASS does provide counselling services, sometimes more specialized assistance is required and we must rely on our provincial health system for these resources. Sometimes, it can take time for these services to be available.

Is it perfect? Sadly, no. We work within our means and there are delays and we are working to address wait time related issues. Recently, we have begun to work closely with partners, including the SFUO, to determine how we can speed up the time it takes for students to get the help they need. Ensuring our students have access to mental health resources is a top priority and we are committed to improving our services.

—Michel Laurier, Vice-President, Academic and Provost