The college will receive $195,000 in funding each year for three years to implement mental health programs and services. This is part of the Government of Alberta's $25.8-million commitment to the mental health of post-secondary students across the province.
"Our government's increased investment in student mental health programs is an important commitment to help students succeed. Mental health challenges have a significant impact on far too many students, and we are making these public investments so all students across the province have access to these programs when they need them."
Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education
The 2016 National College Health Assessment survey conducted at 10 post-secondary institutions across the province showed a high incidence of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. With good mental health supports in place, mental well-being is linked to academic achievement, learning, retention and future achievement.
"We know the scope of the challenges to addressing mental wellness in Alberta's K-12 and post-secondary education systems demand a coordinated response, especially in rural, remote and Indigenous communities. We also need a systemic shift in how Alberta's health-care system accommodates, receives, treats and provides after-care supports to those students, and all others living with mental illness."
Trent Keough, president and CEO, Portage College
"With a fifth of Canadian college students struggling with a variety of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, it is essential that effective mental health strategies be identified and funded in the post-secondary setting. This grant could allow Portage College to provide front-line counsellors and other services, giving more students in our seven-campus system access to help when they need it."
Amie Elponoria, general manager, Portage College Students' Association
"I live with depression on a daily basis. During my studies at Portage College, the positive support received from school counsellors, staff and instructors for my mental health struggles helped me achieve my goals and succeed as a student. The Alberta government's financial commitment will help provide more resources as the decreasing stigma and increasing awareness of mental health issues creates further demand."
Dave Ashworth, Portage College Alumnus
To find out more about this funding and how the provincial government is improving post-secondary mental health and addictions supports for students, please visit Next Steps to Improve Post-Secondary Student Mental Health.
Press Secretary, Advanced Education