New standard to establish mental health best practices at Canadian universities, colleges and institutes to support student mental health and academic success
MONTRÉAL – Bell Let’s Talk and The Rossy Family Foundation (The RFF) announced Tuesday, a joint $1,000,000 donation for the creation of a national standard for post-secondary student mental health to support student success on campuses across Canada. The RFF and Bell Let’s Talk have engaged the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) to lead the project to establish the standard in collaboration with Canada’s standards setting organizations.
“The success of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace set the stage for this new initiative. We believe there is tremendous potential to improve the lives and academic success of Canada’s post-secondary students by taking a similar systematic approach,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “Colleges and universities throughout the country are working hard to ensure a psychologically healthy and safe environment for their students. As with the workplace standard, they will benefit from a nationally established, systematic framework to guide and facilitate their mental health efforts.”
“Post-secondary education is an exciting time as youth stretch their wings and become more independent,” said Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. “It is also a time of increased susceptibility to mental health problems and illnesses as students juggle financial, academic, family and personal demands. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is pleased to work with our partners to develop a standard that will provide a roadmap for educational institutions as they strive to safeguard and promote student mental health.”
“The health and well-being of students is a priority for Canada’s universities and we applaud Bell’s leadership and commitment on this important initiative,” said Paul Davidson, President of Universities Canada. “We look forward to working with Bell Let’s Talk, The Rossy Family Foundation, the Mental Health Commission of Canada and others to ensure that students, staff and faculty are well-supported.”
“Providing a positive and healthy learning environment for all has always been a priority for Colleges and institutes across Canada,” said Denise Amyot, President and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada. “As the national conversation on mental health has evolved over the years, they have always been at the forefront and have worked diligently to continually improve their services and support their students. Colleges and Institutes Canada is thrilled to be a partner as our members and their students will benefit immensely from this national standard for post-secondary student mental health, which will help all Canadian post-secondary institutions share and access best practices from across the country.”
A national standard for post-secondary student mental health will create a practical and flexible framework that enables institutions to protect and promote students’ psychological health and safety. Like the workplace standard, it will provide guidance for Canadian universities, colleges and institutes to promote student success through a collaborative approach to mental health between staff, faculty and students.
Of the more than 2 million people enrolled in Canadian post-secondary institutions, almost 70% are 24 or under, a demographic particularly susceptible to developing mental health issues. Research by the US National Institute of Mental Health has shown that 75% of people with a mental health disorder receive their first diagnosis between 16 and 24. Canada’s National College Health Assessment Survey found 32% of students have been diagnosed or treated for anxiety or depression in the previous year.
At the same time, young people are more engaged when it comes to mental health than ever before, with 87% saying they are more aware of mental health issues than 5 years ago, according to research conducted by Nielsen last October.
Bell Let’s Talk helped fund the development of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace in 2013, and was one of the first organizations to adopt the standard. The new post-secondary standard aims to establish a similar evidence-informed, systematic approach to addressing mental health, a practical and flexible framework that individual institutions can adapt to their unique environments.
Bell Let’s Talk Day is January 31
We invite everyone to take part in the mental health conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day. Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of these interactions on January 31, at no extra cost to participants:
- Text and talk: Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell customers
- Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk including a Bell Let’s Talk hashtag emoji and Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
- Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk and use of the Bell Let’s Talk frame
- Instagram: Every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
- Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk filter and video view
Bell Let’s Talk Day 2017 set all new records with 131,705,010 messages, growing Bell’s funding for Canadian mental health by $6,585,250.50. #BellLetsTalk was Canada’s top hashtag in 2017, and is now the most used Twitter hashtag ever in Canada.
With approximately 729,065,654 interactions by Canadians over the last 7 Bell Let’s Talk Days, Bell’s total commitment to mental health, including an original $50-millionanchor donation in 2010, has risen to $86,504,429.05. Bell expects its donation commitment to reach at least $100 million in 2020. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.
About The Rossy Family Foundation
The Rossy Family Foundation is a Montréal-based philanthropic foundation that funds initiatives in mental health, health care, education, the arts and Canadian civil society.
About the Mental Health Commission of Canada
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are collaborating with hundreds of partners to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental health problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. Together we create change. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.