Improving student mental health services online
Bell Let’s Talk grant helps UAlberta expand online resources to support students’ academic and personal success.
By NEWS STAFF
(Edmonton) Students at the University of Alberta will soon have access to improved mental health and wellness resources online, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund.
The grant will help transform the current online space for student mental health and wellness at the U of A. Some of the developments will include enhanced toolkits for students and service providers, self-assessment and self-help resources, and platforms for destigmatization and other awareness and education campaigns.
“Enhancing our online resources will extend our reach and impact to all of our students,” said Robin Everall, acting dean of students. “Mental health is essential to academic and personal success, and we’re very grateful for Bell’s support so we can make this happen.”
The announcement comes as part of World Mental Health Day, and builds on a comprehensive strategy to improve awareness and increase access for U of A students to a broad range of mental health and wellness services. Expanding online resources will help complement more traditional counselling and clinical support, and even help reach students who are reluctant to seek help in person.
“Since 2011, the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund has invested more than $4 million to support groups working to fight stigma and improve access to mental health care in communities throughout Canada,” said Mary Deacon, chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “We are very pleased to support students at the University of Alberta with access to better mental health resources. The U of A is one of the almost 60 new organizations we’re so proud to support in 2014 as they provide much-needed help to people living with mental illness and the family and friends who care for them.”
”Students are looking for mental health information and services online, and we want to have that support available to students wherever and whenever they need it,” said Everall. “We have considerable knowledge and experience to offer, and a lot of it still exists in older, less accessible formats.”
The long-term goal is to grow the online resources into an outstanding interactive base that will provide better service to students while fostering a more supportive campus community.
“We believe that it takes a campus to support a student,” said Everall. “We’re using this holistic approach to tackle the key issues that students are dealing with, including mental health.”