New panel to look at mental health services on Alberta campuses
New model will replace funding that expires next summer
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Alberta is tasking a small group of students and professionals with rethinking mental health services on post-secondary campuses.
The group will examine innovative mental health programs at Alberta schools and then create province-wide recommendations by early next year.
“This advisory panel is being struck so we can look at what the money that has been provided to campuses in the past has produced in terms of successes in mental health,” Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt told Metro.
The province has invested $3.6 million into mental health programming this year but that money expires next July.
“Definitely I would say that it’s overdue,” said University of Alberta Student Union president Fahim Rahman.
“We’d be very happy to share best practices, and I think a province-wide panel is a great step.”
Rahman added that bringing students and administrators to the same table could ensure everyone’s getting the best possible services.
The panel will be made up of two co-chairs, four faculty and staff, and four students.
Rahman said reducing wait times to access services should be a priority for the panel, as should getting services to work together so students are referred to the correct service faster.
“It would reduce the amount of time spent bouncing around services, and get them help more quickly,” he said.
With files from Helen Pike