North Island College (NIC) students will have access to a mental health counselling and referral service that was announced last week by the provincial government.
Here2Talk provides free, confidential, single-session services by app, phone or online chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We’re so thrilled to see this new, free service rolling out for our students and students across BC,” said Felicity Blaiklock, NIC director of student affairs. “It’s a great addition to the counselling and support services NIC already offers and ensures our students have support whenever they need it, no matter what time of day.”
Here2Talk has been in development for several months and work was expedited to get the tool rolled out as soon as possible to support students dealing with the increased stress from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know this is a challenging time for students,” said Blaiklock. “Being able to reach out for help if you need it, especially in the middle of the night or on the weekend, will make a big difference.”
Promoting good mental health and well-being is a priority at NIC and has been the focus of several new initiatives the college rolled out this academic year. The Early Assist program, which launched in the fall, provides an early intervention system to help identify students who may need additional support. NIC also held its first annual Thrive Week in February, focusing on wellness, self-care and practices to support good mental health and well-being.
“We’ve seen great strides over the last few years in the recognition of how important mental health is and how we can support each other,” said Blaiklock. “The more we talk about it, the more we reduce the stigma around asking for help. That’s why all these initiatives are so important – there is help available and it’s okay to reach out.”
Blaiklock hopes that with more resources available, more people will reach out for help earlier, instead of trying to tough it out.
“It’s so easy to convince ourselves that it’s not that bad, or you just need to get through today,” she said. “You don’t have to wait until you’re in crisis to reach out. We’re here to support you.”
For more information on NIC’s support services, visit: https://www.nic.bc.ca/student-services/.
To access Here2Talk, here2talk.ca.