Alberta devoting $25.8M to post-secondary mental health services over next 3 years
'Doors will be open across the province, phone lines will be open and supports will be there,' minister says
The Alberta government is devoting $25.8 million over three years for mental health resources aimed at university and college students.
Details of specific grants won't be revealed until the fall, but the province said Tuesday the money will be used for promoting mental health on campuses and providing students will better access to phone and online counselling supports, 24 hours a day.
Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt said the grants will be provided directly to post-secondary institutions "so that when students need to go to someone for help, they don't have to wait or search endlessly or give up on their studies or themselves."
"Instead, doors will be open across the province, phone lines will be open and supports will be there and students will be heard," Schmidt said.
University of Calgary president Elizabeth Cannon welcomed the move.
"It shows the entire community that mental health matters if we want to achieve excellence in education and research," she said.
"When our students feel supported and connected to the community, they're able to perform at a much higher level of academic achievement."
Clare Hickie said societal attitudes toward mental health have changed a lot during her six years of studying psychology at the U of C.
She said stigma around mental well-being made her initially reluctant to seek help for her own anxiety and depression, but gradually she began to reach out and access services through the Students' Union Wellness Centre.
"The SU Wellness Centre was a lifeline for me as I began a journey of healing and recovery," she said.
"I felt confident knowing I had access to services when I need them."