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Algonquin’s partnership with The Royal extends mental health services for students

Algonquin College and The Royal announced a partnership on Oct. 10, World Mental Health Day, that will create new programs for students to get easier access to support services.

As a result of the partnership, health services on campus are offering students the opportunity to book a consultation with a member of The Royal through telemedicine. This will allow students to chat about any concerns with a medical professional through video calls.

“Working in collaboration [with] our leveraging telemedicine technology while creating virtual and mental services that can easily fit into students’ busy lives,” said Susan Farrell, vice president of patient care services and community mental health at The Royal. Farrell was one of the members who spoke at the college during the announcement event.

This partnership can expand community services to make mental health more accessible to people where they live, work and study.

Before the event started, Ben Bridgstock, director of student support services, explained that students will be able to refer and get access to different services being offered.

As well, health services, residence, security, counselling and CAL staff will receive training from a speaker who will be coming from The Royal.

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Algonquin College president Claude Brulé speaking at the partnership event on Oct. 10 Photo credit: Camilla Sola

With the help of The Royal, students are able to get 12 free sessions of psychotherapy either at the hospital or they can do an online session from their personal device at home.

Joshua Kellar, who is part of the Project Lighthouse and the Umbrella Project says that he succeeded because of support services.

“But one thing the mental health services here has given me is the ability to walk with that fear and still go on,” he said. “Because of these services I have been given the tools and built confidence to fight and to reclaim a future that once seemed to be impossibly out of reach.”

He was once filled with anxiety, shame about his sexuality and was working in a mindless job that provided him with a paycheck but left him emotionally bankrupt.

“Not that long ago I was literally drinking myself to death,” said Kellar.

Before he attended Algonquin, he became sober and sought help within the support services that could bring light into his life. “With an army of support behind me it’s a battle I know I can win,” said Kellar.

Students can do a referral process to be able to go to the health clinic or counselling in order to make use of The Royal’s support services. There is also a psychiatry clinic at health services on a weekly basis.

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