Building Mental Health Capacity Across New Brunswick Postsecondary Campuses

Medavie Health Foundation partners with New Brunswick Health Research Foundation to bring student mental health initiative led by Dr. Stan Kutcher to New Brunswick.

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From left to right: Paul LeBlanc, Paramedic, Ambulance New Brunswick, Ed Mantler, VP of Programs and Priorities, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Bernard Lord, CEO, Medavie, Michel Gravel, Senior Manager, Deployment & Medical Communications Management Centre, NB EMS, Eric Arsenault, Fire Chief, City of Moncton

Postsecondary students in New Brunswick will have access to improved mental health literacy and on-campus mental health care with the expansion of Pathway through Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Settings. Led by Dr. Stan Kutcher, a renowned expert in adolescent mental health, the initiative is expanding to New Brunswick with funding from Medavie Health Foundation and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF).

Pathway through Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Settings will build on proven youth mental health components to create, evaluate and disseminate a comprehensive and effective campus mental health framework. It will be field tested at Mount Allison University, joining Pathway test sites at five postsecondary campuses in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The framework has the potential to expand to other New Brunswick campuses and could serve as a model across Canada and internationally.

The New Brunswick component of the project also includes a new two-year assistant-professor faculty position in the field of mental health and counselling, supported by $50,000 in funding from NBHRF. Medavie Health Foundation has committed over $680,000 in support of the Pathway initiative.

The New Brunswick expansion of Pathway through Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Settings was launched at Mount Allison University on March 20, with partner, postsecondary and student representatives in attendance.

Quick Facts

  • Approaches to campus mental health in Canada are fragmented; many lack evidence of effectiveness and are often focused on mental health awareness/ promotion rather than improving mental health literacy and access to care. Smaller institutions may face additional challenges in developing and implementing effective evidence-based interventions.
  • Most mental disorders (about 70%) can be diagnosed before age 25, with postsecondary education populations at highest risk for the onset of these illnesses. The most common high-volume, low-intensity mental disorders of this group include depression, anxiety disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This is also a period of risk for substance misuse and addiction.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 34 after accidents. In 2012, suicide accounted for 28% of deaths among youth aged 15 to 19, and 25% among young adults aged 20 to 24.

“We’re so pleased to see the expansion of this initiative, which is aimed at ensuring students receive the right support at the right time, from building resiliency to manage their everyday mental health on campus to providing access to care for those with a mental illness. This aligns with the way we think about health care at Medavie and an example of a different kind of care – one that begins on campus in helping young people stay in school and live their best lives. ”

Bernard Lord, CEO, Medavie

“Mental health-related interventions on many campuses are often driven by enthusiasm and hope. Some of them may work, some may not and some may have unintended consequences. We wish to build on this energy of change and hope for better futures, and underpin it with evidence for what works so we can have comfort that what is being done is achieving the outcomes needed. This project will help us in that quest.”

Dr. Stan Kutcher, Project Lead, Pathways through Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Settings

“Our students’ mental health and wellness is a top priority. We are delighted to be part of this fantastic program, which will increase our capacity to understand our students’ needs and help us to adopt the most effective programs and initiatives to help them.”

Dr. Robert Campbell, President and Vice-Chancellor, Mount Allison University

“The New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF) is always looking at new ways to support applied health research and innovation in order to validate improvements in services for youth/young adult mental health. The Pathway project complements several other youth/adolescent mental health research initiatives in the province that are co-funded and sponsored by NBHRF. We believe that only through evidence-based research shall best practices be applied for youth mental health in order to generate added support and better primary care to those struggling with mental health issues in all segments of our population.”

Monique Imbeault, Board Chair, New Brunswick Health Research Foundation

“Supporting those with mental health challenges is a priority for the Government of New Brunswick. When we help New Brunswick students achieve better mental health, we also cultivate a culture of wellness and make our healthcare system more sustainable and resilient. Our government is very pleased that the Pathway through Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Settings initiative is being expanded to New Brunswick to create an environment for our students that supports their mental health challenges so they can successfully realize their full potential.”

Hon. Victor Boudreau, Minister, New Brunswick Department of Health

Associated Links

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*Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addictions, Facts and Statistics

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