October 26, 2017
For Immediate Release
Halifax, NS – Student organizations in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island are calling on their respective governments to fund innovative mental health intervention programs to improve the mental fitness and wellbeing of postsecondary students in the Maritimes.
In August, Students Nova Scotia (StudentsNS) and the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA) released a national joint publication on the state of student mental health along with partners in Ontario and Alberta. The report highlighted the unmet needs of postsecondary students with regard to mental health support services on campus.
“Significant strides have been made towards destigmatizing mental health in recent years across Canada,” said Annie Sirois, Chair of StudentsNS. “Students are reaching out for support on campuses in Nova Scotia but are encountering long wait times and insufficient resources.”
StudentsNS, the NBSA, and the UPEI Student Union are seeking a combined $700,000 from their respective governments for a suite of technology-based solutions already endorsed by the 16 public universities in Atlantic Canada.
“The government has committed to improving mental health supports across the province for Nova Scotians. The investments we are proposing would ensure that postsecondary students are not left behind,” said Tristan Bray, StudentsNS Executive Director.
Together, the suite of programs would improve four different areas known to impact student mental health outcomes: mental health literacy, peer support, professional counselling, and service delivery using e-mental health technologies. The suite includes online peer support and professional telephone counselling, 24/7, 365 days-a-year. The utility and efficacy of these programs are evidence-based and StudentsNS, the NBSA, and the UPEISU expect that they will be transformative to the mental health landscape for postsecondary students. In particular, the implementation of these diverse services will tackle one of the largest issues facing postsecondary counselling centres — waitlists.
For more information, contact:
Tristan Bray, Executive Director