B.C.’s Minister of Advanced Education Melanie Mark in this undated photo. (B.C. government photo)

Here2Talk: B.C. launches free counselling service for post-secondary students

Province expedites new mental health app in wake of COVID-19 pandemic

The province has announced free counselling services to all students currently registered in studies at B.C. post-secondary schools, as worries remain high due to the ongoing pandemic.

The new program, called Here2Talk, will be available 24-7 through an app, hotline and online chat. It’s a resource that has been in development for several months, but was expedited as young people face the implications of COVID-19 from losing jobs to changes in their studies.

“With the advent of COVID-19 and the increased stress it puts on students, we doubled down to get students the supports they so desperately need,” Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark said during a news conference on Thursday (April 16).

This is the second announcement by the province this month related to mental health. Last week, the province announced $5 million for a suite of new programs targeted to youth, Indigenous people and first responders who are struggling through this period of uncertainty.

READ MORE: B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

The estimated cost for the program is $1.5 million per year for the next three years. There are roughly 555,000 registered post-secondary students in B.C.

“Now every student can access supports 24-7 without stigma or judgment – and it’s free, because access to mental-health care shouldn’t depend on the size of your bank account,” Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy said in a statement.

Students can speak to a counsellor by phone, toll-free at 1-877-857-3397 or direct 604-642-5212. Students calling from outside Canada can dial 1-604-642-5212. Services are currently available in English and French but additional languages will be made available by request.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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