Opinions

Mo’ money, mo’ … medication?

Sofia Hashi | Fulcrum Staff

AS A UNIVERSITY student, the one word I hear more than “lectures,” “assignments,” or “beer,” is “tuition.”

“Lower tuition fees!”

“Tuition fees are too damn high!”

These are constant grumbles we hear echoed on university campuses all across Canada. Most University of Ottawa students know about the Drop Fees campaign that rolls through every February. Whether our excitement for the day stems from being excused from class or our enthusiasm to protest on the hill is still up for debate, but the fact remains tuition issues last more than just one day.

Even though we may bemoan the price of our education, surprisingly enough, tuition isn’t the only issue that students deal with. Shocking, I know.

So why would the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) make the connection between financial stress and the high rates of antidepressant use by students?

As the Fulcrum reported last week, the SFUO released a report that detailed the amount of antidepressants claimed by students rose 12.2 per cent from 2010 to 2011. Vp communications Anne-Marie Roy went one step further, saying that there is a connection between this increased antidepressant use and tuition fees.

Whoa. Wait a second.

It’s so insulting to me, as a university student, to have my issues reduced to tuition fees. Yes, of course I get it, we’re a bunch of poor twenty-year-olds living on ramen noodles, scrounging for laundry money, and popping pills. We can’t afford anything, let alone our tuition, and that’s why we’re sad.

The fact is, there is so much more to the story than that. And what’s more, it’s extremely disrespectful to students who suffer from mental health issues to reduce it to a simple matter of money. There are an innumerable number of reasons people seek medical help for depression. Who knows what situation they’re in or what they’re going through? I can’t even begin to list the issues people could be experiencing, so why does the SFUO feel the need to diminish them to tuition fees?

Roy stated that she understands there are many other stresses students face, but she suggested money was the main stress.

I’m a student and I’m not rich. Yes, paying tuition sucks, and debating whether higher education should or shouldn’t be free opens a whole new can of worms. But as I’ve said earlier, stating that students are on antidepressants because we are upset over tuition is not only outrageous, but also disregards other the other expenses we face living off campus and attending university. Heat and hyrdro, rent, food, phone bills, and the list goes on. Our everyday living costs are stressful too, but it’s too ridiculous to say they’re making us depressed, right?

Maybe the SFUO should take a chill pill and look at the other issues that are plaguing students. How about focus on getting more study space for students, or on bettering our cafeteria, or creating more social events to bring students together? If the SFUO took off their tuition-coloured goggles and saw the bigger picture, our level of satisfaction and contentment might just have a fighting chance.