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REF NO.: 96

SUBJECT: Memorial University students to have their say on the future of health and wellness services
DATE: March 14, 2013

Health and counselling professionals at Memorial University are calling on students to take an active role in shaping the future of Memorial student health, wellness and counselling services.
Memorial’s Student Affairs and Services, through its student health and counselling centres, is joining in a North America-wide student health survey that will reveal the current state of student health, identify emerging campus trends and highlight areas in need of greater attention and support. 
 “A random sample of 5,000 Memorial students will be invited to participate in this confidential, online survey on March 19”, said Dr. Norman Lee, chief physician with Memorial’s Student Health Centre. “A high-level of participation is critical for the results to be influential in shaping future health services on Memorial campuses.”
The National College Health Assessment (NCHA) survey is a comprehensive international health survey that will capture student behaviours and attitudes on a broad range of health issues including nutrition, exercise, drugs and alcohol, personal safety, sexual health, stress, depression and anxiety.
Memorial is among 33 universities in Canada and more than 100 universities in the United States participating in this year’s survey. The findings will present an objective picture of student health and emerging trends on Memorial’s campuses. Researchers will also be able to benchmark the findings against those of post-secondary institutions students elsewhere. 
The university participated in the NCHA survey in 2008. The findings confirmed that stress and mental health issues were growing challenges for students here and on university campuses across North America.
“Today, Memorial has a psychiatrist on staff and we implemented an online alcohol assessment tool – e-CheckUpToGo – to help students understand their drinking habits,” said Kelly Neville, wellness co-ordinator with the Counselling Centre. “Both these initiatives followed from the findings of the NCHA 2008 survey.”
In addition to allocating existing resources and developing programs and services that meet student health requirements, the survey findings will also give campus counselling and health centres empirical evidence to support grant and funding applications to external sources.
A campaign themed Are You One of the Chosen Ones? is currently underway on campus to raise awareness of the student health survey and to encourage students to complete the online questionnaire if they are chosen. Students will be notified via email by their Memorial accounts on Tuesday, March 19.
“The survey is confidential and student identities cannot be linked with survey answers,” Dr. Lee explained. “So, there is no reason for students to not to participate and every reason for them to have their say in shaping the future of Memorial’s health, wellness and counselling services.”
For more information about the National College Health Assessment, please visit www.achancha.org.

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