A free counselling and referral service called Here2Talk has been launched to help support the mental health of B.C.’s post-secondary students.
The province said Here2Talk is a confidential, free, single-session counselling service that is offered via an app, phone call or online chat which can be accessed 24 hours a day seven days a week.
“Until now, post-secondary students have never had access to 24/7 provincewide mental-health support services,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Students advocated for years to fill the gap in available mental-health counselling services in British Columbia. Over the past several months, we’ve been working together to develop this new free service. With the advent of COVID-19 and the increased stress it puts on students, we doubled down to get students the supports they so desperately need. I’m very excited to say that Here2Talk is now available for all 555,000 post-secondary students registered across B.C.”
The Provincial Government said that the service was developed by Morneau Shapell with feedback from and ideas from B.C. students. Here2Talk will help students who are struggling with a variety of mental health challenges, such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, pressure to perform, crises, racism and relationships. Councillors will also be able to refer students to local mental health resources in their community.
The province said this is the first time that all B.C. students have access to mental health supports around the clock regardless of where they are or if they are full or part-time students.
“For too long, mental health care was an afterthought in B.C., and many post-secondary students weren’t able to access the help they needed. Here2Talk is changing that,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Now every student can access supports 24/7 without stigma or judgment – and it’s free because access to mental health care shouldn’t depend on the size of your bank account.”
The B.C. Government is providing $1.5 million per year for this service.
Access to the new Here2Talk service can be found by downloading the app or through its website.