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Postsecondary mental health initiative to be ‘field tested’ at Mount A

Bernard Lord, Medavie Blue Cross CEO and former New Brunswick Premier, took part in an announcement on the Mount Allison campus Monday morning regarding the expansion of the Pathway through Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Settings initiative in the province. The expansion means postsecondary students in New Brunswick will have access to improved mental health literacy and on-campus mental health care. PHOTO SUBMITTED
Bernard Lord, Medavie Blue Cross CEO and former New Brunswick Premier, took part in an announcement on the Mount Allison campus Monday morning regarding the expansion of the Pathway through Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Settings initiative in the province. The expansion means postsecondary students in New Brunswick will have access to improved mental health literacy and on-campus mental health care. PHOTO SUBMITTED

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Postsecondary students in New Brunswick will have access to improved mental health literacy and on-campus mental health care with the expansion of Pathway through Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Settings.

The New Brunswick expansion of Pathway through Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Settings was launched Monday morning at Mount Allison University with partner, postsecondary and student representatives in attendance.

Mount Allison president Robert Campbell noted during the announcement that the mental health and wellness of students attending the local university is a top priority.

The New Brunswick expansion of Pathway through Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Settings was launched Monday morning at Mount Allison University with partner, postsecondary and student representatives in attendance.

Mount Allison president Robert Campbell noted during the announcement that the mental health and wellness of students attending the local university is a top priority.

“We are delighted to be part of this fantastic program,” he added, “which will increase our capacity to understand our students’ needs and help us to adopt the most effective programs and initiatives to help them.”

Led by Dr. Stan Kutcher, a renowned expert in adolescent mental health, the initiative is expanding to New Brunswick with funding from Medavie Health Foundation and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF).

“Mental health-related interventions on many campuses are often driven by enthusiasm and hope,” Kucther said. “Some of them may work, some may not and some may have unintended consequences. We wish to build on this energy of change and hope for better futures, and underpin it with evidence for what works so we can have comfort that what is being done is achieving the outcomes needed. This project will help us in that quest.”

The New Brunswick expansion of Pathway through Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Settings was unveiled at Mount Allison University Monday morning. Speakers at Monday’s announcement, left to right, included New Brunswick Health Minister Victor Boudreau, Mount Allison student Emilie Comfort, Medavie CEO Bernard Lord, New Brunswick Health Research Foundation chair Monique Imbeault and Mount Allison University president Robert Campbell. PHOTO SUBMITTED

Pathway through Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Settings will build on proven youth mental health components to create, evaluate and disseminate a comprehensive and effective campus mental health framework.

It will be field tested at Mount Allison University, joining Pathway test sites at five postsecondary campuses in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

The framework has the potential to expand to other New Brunswick campuses and could serve as a model across Canada and internationally.

The New Brunswick component of the project also includes a new two-year assistant professor faculty position in the field of mental health and counselling, supported by $50,000 in funding from NBHRF. Medavie Health Foundation has committed over $680,000 in support of the Pathway initiative.

Bernard Lord, former New Brunswick premier and Medavie CEO, also spoke during Monday’s announcement.

“We’re so pleased to see the expansion of this initiative, which is aimed at ensuring students receive the right support at the right time, from building resiliency to manage their everyday mental health on campus to providing access to care for those with a mental illness,"Lord said.

"This aligns with the way we think about health care at Medavie and an example of a different kind of care – one that begins on campus in helping young people stay in school and live their best lives.”

 

– Approaches to campus mental health in Canada are fragmented; many lack evidence of effectiveness and are often focused on mental health awareness/promotion rather than improving mental health literacy and access to care. Smaller institutions may face additional challenges in developing and implementing effective evidence-based interventions.

– Most mental disorders (about 70 per cent) can be diagnosed before age 25, with postsecondary education populations at highest risk for the onset of these illnesses. The most common high-volume, low-intensity mental disorders of this group include depression, anxiety disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This is also a period of risk for substance misuse and addiction.

– Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 34 after accidents. In 2012, suicide accounted for 28 per cent of deaths among youth aged 15 to 19, and 25 per cent among young adults aged 20 to 24.

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