Province Investing $22M For Post-Secondary Mental Health Supports

The provincial government is investing $22 million to ensure post-secondary students receive mental health supports.

Students at all schools across Alberta, including Keyano College, will have access to assistance over the phone 24/7.

The GoA announced the funding commitment at NAIT on Wednesday.

Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan says they want to ensure every student has access to every support they need.

“We believe that Albertans are strong, resilient, and able to succeed when the proper support services are made available for them.”

Students will be able to access help by United Way’s 211 service, the Kids Help Phone, HealthLink/811, and other distress lines.

The Kids Help Phone services is receiving $6.75 million to expand their service, while United Way’s 211 program is getting $7.5 million to link their services to other helplines.

Locally, multiple studies have shown depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses have been on the rise since the Horse River wildfire. Students, mostly in the Fort McMurray and Catholic and Public Districts, have also been a jump in issues.

Luan adds school can be a very hard time for many students.

“You’re busy with courses, exams after exams – you live a very stressful life and for you to take time to see a counselor, to get your issues out is so difficult.”

Meanwhile, the province notes they’ve also increased services on campus through the budget as well.

This includes increased access to counsellors, early alert systems, peer support programs, awareness campaigns and mental health literacy, training for faculty, staff and students in suicide-prevention, helping others in distress, and personal coping strategies.

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