Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund supports student mental health in Québec

Montréal, Thursday, April 15, 2021

• $625K in initial grants awarded to 25 post-secondary institutions to help implement new campus mental health standard
• Additional Bell Let’s Talk funding in June will support new student mental health programs that answer specific needs

MONTRÉAL, April 15, 2021 – Bell Let’s Talk today announced that $625,000 in grants from the Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund have been awarded to support 25 schools in Québec implementing one or both of the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students or the Québec Action Plan on Student Mental Health for Higher Education.

“Bell is committed to enhancing student mental health and we are pleased to have received so many applications from post-secondary institutions in Québec to accelerate the important work they are doing to support the mental health and well-being of their students,” said Karine Moses, Bell’s Vice Chair, Québec. “The care these institutions have for their student populations and their dedication to creating mentally healthy campuses is truly impressive.”

The Québec Action Plan on Student Mental Health for Higher Education, which is currently being developed, will come into effect in the fall of 2021 for students in Québec. The National Standard of Canada, enabled by Bell Let’s Talk funding, was developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) in partnership with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Schools will be able to use one or both frameworks to improve student mental health.

Bell Let’s Talk will launch the second phase of the Post-Secondary Fund with grants for institutions that have identified specific gaps or needs in their mental health support services and are building new programs to address them in alignment with the standards.

“Bell Let’s Talk looks forward to further accelerating our post-secondary initiative in June with additional funding for programs developed by participating schools that directly address the needs of their students,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “There is a clear need for action in post-secondary student mental health, and we are proud to be working with these leading educational institutions to support the needs of students in Québec.”

According to the 2019 National College Health Assessment, about 16% of students have seriously considered suicide, and almost 3% attempted suicide in the past year. Over the past year, the psychological impacts of COVID-19 have affected students at post-secondary institutions in Québec and across Canada.

“For several years, CEGEPs have been reminding students regularly of the importance of promoting and adopting practices aimed at good mental health. With the current COVID-19 situation, any help is welcome to support young people who find themselves more isolated and vulnerable than ever,” said Bernard Tremblay, President and CEO of the Fédération des cégeps. “We welcome this commitment from Bell Let’s Talk, which is once again investing in the college network to support the development, promotion and awareness of mental health services.” “To meet the diverse needs of our student community, mental health support services take many forms and the funds received through the Bell Let’s Talk initiative make it possible to properly assess how to strengthen these programs as a whole,” said Daniel Jutras, Rector of Université de Montréal.

Five member institutions of the Estrie Higher Education Hub: Bishop's University, Cégep de Sherbrooke, Champlain College, Sherbrooke Seminary and Université de Sherbrooke, have formed a partnership that will allow schools to pool their expertise and resources to create learning environments where all students can thrive.

“Thanks to the support of the Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund kickoff grant, our collaboration efforts will go further to help and better equip our community in matters of mental health,” said Marie-France Bélanger, Executive Director of Cégep de Sherbrooke. “We are proud to work together to implement best practices to promote the psychological health of more than 50,000 students and staff members.”

To see a complete list of schools in Québec that received a $25,000 kickoff grant, please click here.

About Bell Let’s Talk
The largest-ever corporate commitment to mental health in Canada, Bell Let’s Talk is focused on 4 key action pillars: Anti-stigma, Care and Access, Research and Workplace Leadership. Since its launch in September 2010, Bell Let's Talk has partnered with more than 1,100 organizations providing mental health supports and services throughout Canada, including hospitals, universities, local community service providers and other care and research organizations. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

Media inquiries:
Vanessa Damha
514 870-6663
vanessa.damha@bell.ca
@Bell_LetsTalk
@Bell_News