Algonquin College receiving part of a provincial grant of $5 million towards mental health and addictions services

Funding will fast-track student access to psychiatric care
Photo: Angel Belair-Poirier
Mental health coordinator Shelina Syed invites students to take advantage of on-site services.

Algonquin College’s mental health services will get a portion of funding being distributed amongst six colleges and two universities in the Ontario region to promote student well being. All organizations will be working in partnership with community based non-profit organizations. The money will help hire social workers, psychotherapists and counsellors to treat students. Critically, it will also shorten the waiting time for psychiatric care for students in urgent need.

“Our government is taking action to ensure post-secondary students across Ontario can conveniently connect to the mental health care they need where and when they need it,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health in a news release from The Ontario Provincial government.

The other organizations benefitting from this grant will be Algoma University, College Boreal, St. Lawrence College, Nipissing University, Shingwauk Teaching Lodge and Six Nations Polytechnic.

Algonquin College is in partnership with The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group. The centre specializes in psychiatric treatment.

“We have money for two years and it will be spent on a mixture of psychiatry services for students and specialist training for our health and wellness clinicians,” said Ben Bridgstock, Director, Student Support Services.

“In the community it can take 12-18 months to get a student in front of a psychiatrist, with our partnership with the Royal we can have a student in front of a psychiatrist in a month,” he added. “This service is for the students with the most challenging mental health and is a key element of the services we offer.”

The funding will ensure communities receive high-quality care. AC is presently facing some staffing challenges. “We are only open Tuesday through Thursday during the spring and summer months this year,” said Shelina Syed, mental health coordinator of the Health & Wellness Zone.

Health & Wellness Zone meeting area, located in E-Building at the Ottawa campus.
Health & Wellness Zones meeting area, located in E-Building at the Ottawa campus.

On campus, the Algonquin College Health & Wellness Zone is located on the third floor E-Building. Students are welcome to enter the Health & Wellness Zone to communicate with an on-site counsellor.

Syed points out that groups are drop-in style and other are by registrations with the Welcome Centre. Counsellors are present for discussions. Brightspace drop-ins are posted on the calendar.

Lea Ntay, student peer support, invites Algonquin College students to take advantage of on-site services.
Lea Ntay, student peer support, invites Algonquin College students to take advantage of on-site services. Photo credit: Angel Belair-Poirier

The Algonquin College Health & Wellness Zone of the Ottawa Campus hopes to promote their services through pamphlets with information for student across the campus.

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