by Morinville News Staff

College and university students returning to classes across Alberta this fall will continue to have access to mental health services on campus, the province reported Thursday morning.

The Government of Alberta says it’s investing $3.6 million in 2016 to support what it sees as much-needed mental health programming, education and student outreach efforts at Alberta campuses. The funding has allowed the hiring of health practitioners, including counsellors, community outreach social workers and psychologists. The money also supported mental health workshops, stress reduction events and peer support programs.

“Transitioning into post-secondary can be a difficult time for students,” said Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education in a release. “In response, many of Alberta’s campuses have made excellent progress in developing mental health resources. I’m proud to say our government is listening to students, which is why we’re extending funding to ensure a healthy post-secondary environment that supports our students on their paths to academic success.”

Sharyn Moore, Board of Directors, Alberta Students’ Executive Council, was pleased with the announcement and said the funding has enabled them to work with nearly 1,000 campus and community partners to provide mental health resources to students, through more than 800 campaigns and events, 60 new services, and training for hundreds of peer support students. We thank the Government of Alberta for their continued support and look forward to continuing work on student-led mental health initiatives on Alberta’s campuses.”

An advisory panel on post-secondary mental health will develop recommendations on how government can support mental health on campuses across Alberta longer-term starting this fall. The panel will be made up of post-secondary students and professionals, as well as representatives from Alberta Health Services and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

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