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Health Canada Provides $2M to Support Mental Health Project for Post-Secondary Students

May 6, 2022

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Post-secondary students are among those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, with social isolation, virtual learning challenges, job insecurity, and financial hardship having a profound impact on their mental health and well-being. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than half of Canadians aged 18-24 (61%) say their mental health has declined.

To support post-secondary students during this challenging time, today, Jenica Atwin, Member of Parliament for Fredericton, announced on behalf of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, an investment of $2 million for a three-year Campus Peer Support pilot project led by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).Funding for this project comes from previous investments in mental health, which were approved in May 2021, and the CMHA is now ready to implement the pilot program on five Canadian campuses, in partnership with local CMHA offices.

The Campus Peer Support pilot project’s aim is to provide post-secondary students with the tools they need to support each other’s well-being. To achieve this, CMHA will work closely with the institutions to train and empower students who have lived and living experience of mental health or substance use to support fellow students facing similar issues.

The innovative pilot project will provide in-person and virtual training as well as certification to 100 student peer supporters across five sites. Peer supporters will work in tandem with counselling and professional services on campus and help connect students to supports available in the wider community and via their local CMHA. The training materials will be created with students, and peer trainers will be taught to deliver the curriculum so that the project can continue beyond the pilot phase.

Quick facts

  • CMHA is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in more than 330 communities across every province and one territory, CMHA provides advocacy, programs and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive.
  • The five Canadian post-secondary institutions are:
    • University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) (Charlottetown, PEI)
    • University of New Brunswick (UNB) (Fredericton & St. John, NB)
    • Trent University (Peterborough, ON)
    • Medicine Hat College (Medicine Hat, AB)
    • University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)
  • Campus Peer Support aligns with the principles of the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety for Postsecondary Students released by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in 2020. These guidelines help post-secondary institutions to support students’ mental health and well-being.