Niagara post-secondary students dealing with stress and other mental health issues will get access to 24-hour support thanks to a new online portal and other services supported by the Government of Ontario.
Brock University will receive $360,240 over three years to address growing concerns about student mental health issues. The funding will allow Brock to partner with Niagara College to develop an online portal and face-to-face information sessions that address a range of mental health issues.
The portal will be built upon an aboriginal understanding of wellness, presenting mental health from the four aspects of well-being: emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual. Initially, the Holistic Wellness Initiative will be designed to respond to the needs of Aboriginal, Métis, and Inuit students. In 2014, activities will be expanded to respond to needs of all post-secondary students in Niagara.
The program is one of 10 announced last week by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, part of a three-year, $27-million MTCU program to address growing concerns about mental issues on campuses.
Brock President Jack Lightstone said the investment is targeted to an important aspect of student life.
“Mental health issues are one of the most prominent health concerns on any campus,” said Lightstone. “Brock is committed to the well-being of its students and is very pleased to partner with the ministry through its initiative to support the mental health of post-secondary students.”
Niagara College President Dan Patterson also welcomed the announcement as positive news for students across the region. “”We’re pleased to partner with Brock University and the ministry on this important initiative,” said Patterson, “Access to effective mental health services is an important issue for our campuses, and we’re committed to providing a holistic approach that addresses the diverse needs of our students.”
Jim Bradley, MPP for St. Catharines, said the funding is part of the government’s efforts to help people live healthy, successful lives.
“Our government is making sure that college and university students in Niagara have access to more support and better mental health services,” said Bradley. “We want to put students back on track, leading to better health outcomes, improved marks and a higher standard of living.”