York U’s online mental health project for students benefits from new funding

by | Mar 4, 2016 | News

York University's Vari Hall.

York University’s Vari Hall. (Google)

Britnei Bilhete

The federal government has pledged over $13.8 million to provincial eHealth programs, one of which is a York University online initiative that will focus on students and their emotional well-being.

“These projects have the potential to make high quality mental health services more available to the young Canadians who need them,” Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, said in a press release.

The York project called the Mindfulness Virtual Community (MVC) will be an online resource comprised of “peers and professionals” to support mental health and promote mindfulness.

“Mindfulness is the practice of meditation,” Professor Christo El Morr from the School of Health Policy & Management told Humber news.

“Research findings relate the practice of mindfulness with reduced anxiety, stress and depression.”

Up to 40 per cent of post-secondary students “are facing huge mental health issues” said El Morr.

“You’re juggling work and studies and you also have to think about the debt if your taking loans, and it’s a lot of pressure.”

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association suicide is the leading cause of death in Canadians aged 15-24, the third highest statistic in the industrialized world.

And although many schools have on campus counseling and support programs,  El Morr said there aren’t enough resources for all students.

Twenty-two programs across Canada will be given grants from the eHealth Innovations Partnership Program (eHIPP), which works to integrate information technology with health care in Ontario.

The research projects will focus on youth mental health and seniors with complex care needs.