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New mental health funding aims to align services to national standard

May 3, 2021 | Campus Life
Wellness and Psychological Services will lead an assessment of all MacEwan University mental health supports over the coming year with support from a $25,000 Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund grant.

Over the last number of years there has been acknowledgment of the urgent need for universities to deal with the rising mental health issues of students, says Cassie Prochnau – a need that has only heightened given the effects of the current pandemic.

“The timing of this grant could not be better,” says Prochnau, interim associate vice-president, Students and Teaching. “These funds not only acknowledge MacEwan’s unwavering commitment to our students’ mental health and well-being, they will also assist in our ongoing development of a culture where mental health is prioritized and accepted.”

Initiatives to develop that culture include the university’s Changing Minds program – an invitation to the entire campus community to join the conversation about mental health that began in 2018. Since then, the university has regularly offered the Inquiring Mind and the Working Mind mental health workshops for students, faculty and staff; provided counselling services for more than 1,000 students each year; created a Peer Health Education Team; opened the MacEwan University Health Centre; offered programs like Peer Support, Fit Buddy and Pets Assisting With Student Success (PAWSS); and created a Health Promotion Working Group focused on creating accessible resources for everyone at MacEwan.

The grant will be used to ensure that these and many other mental health activities, policies and initiatives across the university community are cohesive and align with the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students.

While Wellness and Psychological Services has an important role to play in providing students with services, mental health is a priority for the entire supportive campus community, says Tory Pino.

“Faculty and staff across the university are here for you,” says the chair of Wellness and Psychology Services. “We may not all be sharing the same physical spaces as students begin the Spring/Summer term, but we are here to support students virtually in their living rooms, their cars or wherever they find themselves.”

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MacEwan University formally adopts the Okanagan Charter

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