More mental health supports for students

Representatives from the Student Counseling Office and Mental Health at NAIT, Kids Help Phone, United Way and members of Alberta Students’ Executive Council stood with Associate Minister Luan and Minister Nicolaides to announce more mental health supports for post-secondary students.

Students at the 26 post-secondary institutions across Alberta will have more access to mental health and addiction crisis supports through text and chat, and professional counselling by phone. Those services will be supported by a new digital navigation and crisis hub that will link service providers, including United Way’s 211 service, helplines such as Kids Help Phone, HealthLink/811 and other distress lines.

“Our government is committed to eliminating barriers to mental health and addiction services for post-secondary students. Working together, we’ll make it easier for students to talk openly about mental health and ensure they have access to supports when they need them.”

Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

In addition, Budget 2019 continues to support a range of on-campus mental health services, including:

  • 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
  • personal coping strategies

“One of the common themes I have heard from our students, from Day 1, is the need to strengthen mental health supports on campus. This initiative will improve access to mental health services and will make sure our students can find help when they need it. I am always listening to students, and this announcement demonstrates their advocacy pays off.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

On-campus services are supported by the Post-secondary Mental Health Grant of $7.6 million this year.

In addition, government is funding expansion of digital services by providing $6.75 million to Kids Help Phone to expand its 24-7, free, confidential and professional online and telephone counselling and volunteer-led text-based crisis support. Another $7.5 million will fund a new digital navigation and crisis hub that will link United Way’s 211 service to other helplines such as Kids Help Phone, HealthLink/811 and other distress lines.

“Kids Help Phone is pleased to be a part of this initiative that will help Albertans, particularly post-secondary students, connect to the services they need in a timely fashion. Navigating the mental health system is complex and we are proud to work with partners to ensure all Albertans get the help they need, when they need it most.”

Katherine Hay, CEO, Kids Help Phone

“More than 500,000 Albertans access at least one mental health service each year, with many others unable to get help when they need it. With this partnership, Albertans will have access to information and help at any time no matter where they live in the province, allowing anyone to connect when they need to most.”

Rob Yager, president and CEO, United Way Alberta Capital Region

“Mental health is critical to the success and well-being of everyone. In order to thrive inside the classroom and beyond, mental health needs to be supported.”

Glenn Feltham, president and CEO, NAIT


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