Ontario kicks off a mental health helpline for post-secondary students
By Andrea Fernandes
Ontario is officially rolling out a new mental health help line for post-secondary students.
Part of the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, the Good2Talk helpline will offer students a way to get in touch with qualified mental health professionals at all hours of the day. The service is free, confidential, and anonymous.
“College and university students with concerns about student life, health or mental well-being can now call Good2Talk, a province-wide service that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” according to a press release from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
“Its main purpose is to support youth and transition,” said Justin Hanna, marketing and communications manager at Good2Talk.
Economy and recession tough on student
Hanna said the economy and recession have been particularly rough on students who are about to enter the workforce and part of the provinces responsibility is keeping students healthy.
“There is a recognition today that really if the Government of Ontario and its partners want to see this province grow and grow economically, it’s got to insure that its post-secondary student population graduates healthy,” he said.
Students lend helping hand
Hanna told Humber News, the phone line has been active for a couple of months but today was Good2Talk’s formal announcement.
Hanna said the help line was created for students with tremendous input from students all around the province. Good2Talk traveled every region to pinpoint student’s issues to create the best help line possible.
“I think that’s what this help line is all about; it’s helping students tackle the issues that they face today so that they can be ready for tomorrow,” said Hanna.
“We want to let college and university students know they aren’t alone and that there is help. The new supports will help them have a healthy, productive transition to post-secondary institutions and deal with newfound independence, both on and off campus,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, in the press release.
Maureen Carnegie, co-ordinator and consultant for Disability Services Student Success and Engagement at Humber College said because the help line is confidential and behind a phone, students will be more likely to call.
“I think the fact that you are talking to someone over the phone, clearly its anonymous, it’s completely confidential, that may really help students to make that leap,” she said.
According to the press release, the Good2Talk service is provided by Kids Help Phone and is part of the multi-year, $257 million Mental Health and Addictions strategy announced in the 2011 Ontario budget.
Good2Talk is available 24/7 at 1-866-925-5454.