The Province says it will develop a free mental health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students throughout British Columbia.
BC selected Morneau Shepell to create and operate a 24/7 mental health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students at all public and private post-secondary institutions in B.C.
The company will provide on-demand, immediate counselling and referral support to almost half a million students in B.C.’s public and private post-secondary institutions.
This mental health service will mean for the first time in B.C., every student – whether rural, urban, domestic, international, public, private, full-time or part-time – will have access to 24/7 services to supplement services on campus and in the community.
As this province wide program is a new service, the ministry will take the time to engage with students and post-secondary institutions on the design of the service before launch in spring 2020.
“Many students don’t come forward and ask for the help they need because of the stigma that still surrounds mental health issues,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This service will meet young people where they are at and provide them immediate access to someone to talk to, without shame or judgement.”
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.
“Mental health is an issue our government takes seriously,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Post-secondary students have told me there is a gap in mental heath support services. The stress students feel at university or college can be significant, and can lead to serious isolation and potentially deadly outcomes. 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.”
The three-year contract has a budget of $1.5 million per year.