UNB receives mental health funding from Bell Let’s Talk

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Bell Let’s Talk, as part of their mental health initiative, has granted UNB funding for student mental health.

(Bell Canada/Website)

Bell Let’s Talk funding

The Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary fund is a $1 million award that is being distributed to 16 Canadian universities and colleges. This year, UNB is one of those universities and it received $100,000 from the fund so that they can develop mental health wellness initiatives and activities for students.

The funding from Bell Let’s Talk will continue to be used for what was developed last year with the 2021 Bell Let’s Talk funding of $25,000.

UNB is expected to create and support initiatives that align with the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students. 

UNB plans for funding

According to nurse practitioner from the UNBSJ Health Centre, Terry- Lynne King, the new funding will support an 18-month bi-campus diversity Wellness Coordinator position. The selected person will work with students who are members of the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities to identify and address students’ needs, focusing on training resources. 

When it comes to the funding of last year and if this new funding will complement it, King explains that last year’s Bell Let’s Talk funding went to training for UNB Saint John and Fredericton about and through Piluwitahasuwawsuwakon. The training was led by Dr. Jen Rowett and organized by April Kennedy, UNBF’s Counselling Services Director. 

The funding also went into a project to hire queer, trans, and BIPOC students for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives led by Matt MacLean, Mental Health Strategist. The goals were for the students to identify and address the needs of queer, trans, and BIPOC needs and to create a community-building experience for the students participating. The group of students who identified students’ needs gathered a list of scholarships and grants for queer, trans, and BIPOC people which will be on UNB’s awards website along with opportunities to participate in workshops and other activities. 

This year’s funding will complement these projects and will fund the development of a plan to sustain this work once UNB stops receiving Bell Let’s Talk funding.

National Standard of Canada for Mental Health

The National Standard of Canada for Mental Health is a set of guidelines that help increase awareness of mental health, reduce stigma, and improve life and resiliency skills of post-secondary students. The Bell Let’s Talk funding supported the creation of the guidelines in partnership with the Canadian Standards Association.