University of Lethbridge students will soon see expanded mental health services because of a significant Government of Alberta investment.
On January 16, Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne and Enterprise and Advanced Education Minister Stephen Khan announced the U of L would receive $3 million over three years as part of the first stage of implementing Alberta's Addiction and Mental Health Strategy. Similar investments were made at the University of Calgary and University of Alberta with the Alberta Student Executive Council (ASEC) receiving $1.5 million over the same period.
"The University of Lethbridge puts tremendous emphasis on the student experience," says U of L president Mike Mahon. "This includes ensuring timely and comprehensive mental health supports are available for our students. This investment greatly benefits the U of L students at our three campuses in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge by helping those with an immediate problems and by mitigating future issues using preventative measures."
The U of L will use these funds to expand mental health, addiction and counseling services at its Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge campuses through the hiring of health professionals, holding work shops and training sessions and conducting surveys to ensure the institution continues to understand the types of supports that students require.
University of Lethbridge Associate Vice-President (Academic) Bob Boudreau says the Government of Alberta investment is targeting an important demographic.
"Providing mental health supports for a student in need is not only beneficial in the short-term but has a lasting effect," says Boudreau. "Often these supports benefit students over a lifetime. Further, students who deal with issues they face in a timely fashion are more like succeed over the term of their post-secondary studies."
Funding will be used, among other things, to:
• Hire medical professionals, including a two day per week salaried Physician with training in mental health that can act as an expert in the collaboration and liaison needed between on-campus services.
• Expand counselling services at the three U of L campuses.
• Run workshops and training, for example, on suicide prevention. Continuing education of the University of Lethbridge team will ensure that best practices are rapidly incorporated into delivery and support programs.
• Support participation in and data analysis of the NCHA and Healthy Minds surveys.
The Government of Alberta media release can be found here: http://www.alberta.ca//acn/201301/3352944E370AE-F03F-0F4A-22170BF973A0B317.html#backgrounder