University can be a stressful time. Thankfully, it's about to get a lot better for students in B.C. The Province will give free 24/7 mental health support to all of its roughly half a million university students in all of its institutions starting in April 2020. B.C.'s free student mental health care is currently looking for feedback from post-secondary students.
According to a press release from the B.C. government, every post-secondary student in B.C. will soon receive on-demand, immediate mental health support and referral services.
The service will be open to every single student, no matter their institution or whether they're part-time, full-time, domestic, or international.
The mental health care will act as a supplement to some universities' already existing mental health services, not as a replacement.
"The stress students feel at university or college can be significant, and can lead to serious isolation and potentially deadly outcomes," said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, in a press release on Tuesday, January 28.
"I am proud our government is responding to this call to action by creating a place for students to reach out for help 24/7," she continued.
The number of bright and healthy students that go into university ok and leave with a range of mental health issues… https://t.co/Z8a6XsuD24— Tina (@Tina)1579792385.0
The human resources and technology company Morneau Shepell was selected to build the referral system.
According to the press release, "Morneau Shepell administers the largest clinical network in Canada. It has delivered mental health solutions since 1974 and services more than 20,000 organizations world-wide."
Their contract will run for three years, at a budget of $1.5 million per year.
Right now, the B.C. government wants feedback from post-secondary students before the free services launch in April 2020.
"Mental health is an issue our government takes seriously. Post-secondary students have told me there is a gap in mental health support services," said Mark.
Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, hopes the program will help combat the stigma of mental health.
"Many students don’t come forward and ask for the help they need because of the stigma that still surrounds mental health issues," she said. "This service will meet young people where they are at and provide them immediate access to someone to talk to, without shame or judgement."
Universities: Need help? Use our mental health services! The services: -A golden retriever comes to the library on… https://t.co/9qiODQhQ5C— Gabrielle Drolet (@Gabrielle Drolet)1580085054.0
All this is after a bunch of complaints from university students in Ontario like the University of Toronto, saying their universities' mental health care is inadequate.
At the University of Guelph, students accused the school of "abandoning" those with mental health issues, due to their allegedly poor mental health services.