Province promises money for student mental health

The Alberta government is pledging $10 million to improve mental health services for students at the province's post-secondary schools.
The University of Alberta, which has nearly 40,000 students, will receive $3-million grants, along with universities in Calgary and Lethbridge. (CBC News)

The Alberta government is pledging $10 million  to improve mental health services for students at the province’s post-secondary schools.

The money, spread out over three years, comes as health officials express concern over studies that find suicide and psychiatric disorders are common in students.

"Isolation and stress are common student experiences across Alberta," said Health Minister Fred Horne.

"Helping students learn to cope is just as important as helping them learn, and when they come forward for help the resources need to be there to assist them when they are most receptive."

The University of Alberta will get a $3-million grant to hire psychologists, psychiatric nurses and social workers. Horne said schools like the U of A, which has almost 40,000 students, must be able to help students who are dealing with mental health issues.

"This is a small city by Alberta standards and by locating the services here and by focussing on the people that study here and work here, we're able to create sort of  a mini-mental health system."

The University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge will also get $3-million grants.

An additional $1.5 million will be spread among other schools in the province.