Bell Let’s Talk Announces $1M In Funding For Post-Secondary Student Mental Health Programs

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Bell Let’s Talk today announced that $1 million in grants from the Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund have been awarded to 16 Canadian colleges, universities and cégeps to support them in implementing initiatives that align with the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students (the Standard) or the Québec Action Plan on Student Mental Health for Higher Education (Québec Action Plan).

According to the 2021 survey by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, the pandemic has not only worsened pre-existing mental health challenges in 78% of students, but it has created new challenges for 64%, and while some students remain optimistic, the percentage has dropped by 5% in the past year to 41%.

“Bell’s commitment to student mental health is an ongoing priority especially as students continue to be impacted by the effects of the pandemic. We are proud to continue our support of post-secondary institutions’ efforts to expand, enhance or establish programs that support student mental health and well-being, and ultimately student success.” – Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk

To date, Bell Let’s Talk has awarded over $4 million in grants to Canadian post-secondary institutions, starting with more than $3 million in initial grants to over 120 schools in early 2021.

“Bell Let’s Talk has been a leader in supporting the Standard and as Chair of the Technical Committee for the Standard, I welcome Bell’s continued funding for institutional projects that support our call to action. The first wave of funding in 2021 provided opportunity for more than 120 campuses to complete self-assessments to define next steps. This second phase of funding will support development of programming that evaluates outcomes and efficacy in creating strong mentally healthy environments. It will be exciting to see successful and effective projects that can be shared with others across the country.” – Janine Robb, Executive Director of Health & Wellness, University of Toronto

Schools like Cégep de Sherbrooke are using Bell Let’s Talk funds to implement campus programs to support the current mental health needs of their students.

“The Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund will contribute to the development of a pilot project to integrate psychological health concepts into certain courses starting this fall. We hope this initiative will then be extended to all students in order to provide them with concrete tools to promote their psychological well-being and a healthy life balance.” – Marie-France Bélanger, Executive Director of the Cégep de Sherbrooke

“We are thrilled to receive a Bell Let’s Talk Implementation Grant to help establish McMaster’s Student Urgent Response Team (SURT), a mental health outreach and support service to assist our students facing a mental health crises. The SURT will provide virtual and in-person services to students. It will also help train educational staff and faculty to more confidently provide assistance to students in crisis.  Strengthening programs and services in support of student mental health is a collective effort, and we’re very grateful for our partnership with Bell Let’s Talk.” –  Sean Van Koughnett, Associate Vice-President (Students and Learning) and Dean of Students, McMaster University

“We are very pleased to receive an implementation grant from the Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund to create a new position specializing in diversity wellness. This position will not only support QTBIPOC students to identify and address needs for positive mental health but it will also create wellness activities and ventures, evaluate and make recommendations for programming and develop training resources for faculty and staff. Our students’ voices are important to us and we recognize that a sense of belonging is a strong predictor of academic success and improved well-being for marginalized students.”  –  Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of New Brunswick

“We are truly thankful for our second Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary grant to advance our Peer Support Program for Wellness. Our program is designed to work in partnership with our Students’ Association to provide a student-led support network who can offer additional training, referrals, and inclusive and safe spaces for students to collaborate in support of each other.” –  Brandy Robertson, Wellness Student Success Advisor, Assiniboine Community College

To see a complete list of the schools receiving grants and the programs they plan to implement, please click here.

The application process for the 2022 Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Implementation grants will open in the spring.

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