New peer mental health mentoring program to be developed at Queen's
Queen’s is receiving $426,000 from the provincial government to develop a new peer mentoring program focused on supporting students with mental health concerns that can be implemented at post-secondary institutions across Ontario.
“Some university and college-aged students who experience mental health difficulties don’t seek counselling for a variety of reasons, including the stigma that is often associated with mental health issues,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “Peer mentors have a high degree of credibility among students, who may initially be more inclined to turn to someone their own age for help connecting to the resources available.”
Although there are many peer programs at Queen’s and other post-secondary institutions, more specific and intensive peer training is needed in general mental health education, recognizing signs of mental health problems, how to respond to a person experiencing a mental health crisis, stigma reduction, and how best to refer students to professional resources.
“In addition to creating and delivering a comprehensive peer-helping program, this funding will allow us to develop a resource package that can be used at universities and colleges across the province,” says Mike Condra, Director of Queen’s Health, Counselling and Disability Services, who is leading the project.
The funding is from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ Mental Health Innovation Fund. Queen’s and St. Lawrence College are also receiving $1 million from this fund to develop standards that will help students with mental health disabilities more effectively access the academic accommodations they need.