British Columbia

B.C. government launches new mental health service for post-secondary students

Here2Talk offers confidential, free, single session service by app, phone or online chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Here2Talk offers 24/7 free and confidential service by app, phone or online chat

B.C.'s government has launched a new program aimed at helping post-secondary students dealing with mental health issues. (Shutterstock / Tero Vesalainen)

The B.C. government is launching a new mental health counselling and referral service aimed at post-secondary students.

Here2Talk offers confidential, free, single-session service by app, phone or online chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It is directed at students who need help dealing with depression, anxiety, loneliness, pressure to perform, crises, racism and relationships, according to the press release.

The B.C. Federation of Students is applauding the program.

"Many students struggle to access mental health supports on campuses and in their communities; this has only been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic," said chairwoman Tanysha Klassen.

Klassen said post-secondary students, now trying to complete final exams remotely, are facing unprecedented stresses due to the pandemic.

She said many post-secondary students are worried about the quality of the education they are getting online, how credentials awarded in 2020 will be perceived by prospective graduate schools or employers, and what the job market will look like post-pandemic.

"Some students are feeling pretty disenfranchised by the situation," Klassen said Friday, speaking to host Stephen Quinn on The Early Edition.

How to connect

Students can now speak to a counsellor by phone, toll-free at 1-877-857-3397 or direct 604-642-5212. Students calling from outside Canada can dial 1-604-642-5212.

Sessions with a trained counsellor can be accessed by downloading the Here2Talk app or by visiting here2talk.ca

The provincial government is spending $1.5 million per year on the service. 

According to a 2019 survey by the National College Health Association, 63 per cent of Canadian students reported feelings of hopelessness within the previous year and 88 per cent had felt overwhelmed by their workload in the same time period.

To hear Tanysha Klassen speak about the challenges facing post-secondary students during the COVID-19 pandemic on The Early Edition, tap the audio link below:

BC Federation of Students chair Tanysha Klassen speaks with Stephen Quinn about how students are preparing to take on one of the most stressful weeks during this pandemic. 7:49

With files from The Early Edition

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