At the University of Toronto, innocent students are being handcuffed and treated like criminals, simply for asking for help during mental health crises. This barbaric treatment and cruelty needs to end here. Why? Well, picture this:
You walk into your university's health center, seeking the help you know you need; the help they promised you would get if you reached out.
You're told that a policy requires them to call campus police to have a conversation with you, just a conversation, that's it. You have no choice but to nod your head in agreement.
You're escorted into a public space by police, making a scene of your vulnerability. You are now told that you need to be escorted to the hospital to get help, so you emphasize your willingness to cooperate.
You are now HANDCUFFED and forced to feel ashamed for coming forward and being honest about your struggles. You are treated like a criminal, and for what? For doing the very thing the university encouraged you to do....ask for help.
Students have been cornered and surrounded by campus police during their counselling sessions at the Health & Wellness center, and then forcibly handcuffed after begging not to be. Students are being kicked out of campus buildings in the cold of winter, by campus police and paramedics, and asked to never come back; for nothing more than having a mental crisis, and being of no danger to anyone but themselves. Students are being let down, AGAIN. This cannot happen anymore. This needs to stop.
In light of current events, we are tackling this very important issue, but recognize the fear students now have of being handcuffed during transportation from campus to the local hospital. After meeting with the director of Health & Wellness Centre at the St. George Campus of UofT, it became evident that the university’s hesitancy to call the ambulance stems from the fact that students cannot afford the ambulance fee, and the university has no obligation to pay for it. But with exam season coming up, students need to feel as though they can reach out without having to worry about something as trivial as whether or not they can afford to pay for an ambulance so that they don’t have to be undignified and traumatized by being handcuffed. We have started an ambulance fund, where 100% of donations will go directly towards paying the ambulance fees of students being transported from campus to the hospital.
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