McMaster receives $100,000 from Bell Let’s Talk to establish mental health support resource for students

McMaster has received $100,000 from Bell Let’s Talk to enhance mental health supports and to establish the Student Urgent Response Team.

McMaster University has received $100,000 from Bell Let’s Talk to enhance mental health supports and to establish the Student Urgent Response Team (SURT).

The service is designed to help students facing mental health crises on campus, providing both in-person and virtual support.

“We are thrilled to receive a Bell Let’s Talk Implementation Grant to help establish McMaster’s Student Urgent Response Team,” said Sean Van Koughnett, Associate Vice-President (Students and Learning) and Dean of Students.

“Strengthening programs and services in support of student mental health is a collective effort, and we’re very grateful for our partnership with Bell Let’s Talk.”

The idea for SURT came from a group of students who have been key partners in the Okanagan Mental Health Task Force consultation process. They asked for a campus response to mental health crises to provide the least intrusive support, minimize stigma and maximize use of on-campus resources.

Allison Drew-Hassling, Director of Student Accessibility Services and the Student Support and Case Management Office and Dr. Catharine Munn, Chair of the Okanagan Mental Health and Well-being Task Force and faculty in the department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, developed the successful proposal.

“This funding will enable us to add to the complement of student mental health services with an innovative approach of outreach to students experiencing a mental health crisis on campus,” said Drew-Hassling.

“We know that accessing supports early can reduce negative academic and occupational impacts on our students’ lives. The SURT team will apply a student-centred holistic approach, with an aim to understand the barriers experienced by a student in crisis and will work in partnership with the student to address those concerns.”

McMaster is one of 16 Canadian colleges and universities receiving a grant from Bell Let’s Talk to support mental health initiatives in campuses.

“We are proud to continue our support of universities and colleges across the country as they work hard to put research into action on their campuses to support student mental health and well-being,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk.