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Reading week may not be providing help students need

It’s a sign that even our country’s brightest and best are struggling.

Suicide has become the leading cause of death among teens and the government plans to tackle that issue with the help of one common stresser- school.

“The education environment is the way to reach people, we need to do everything we can to make sure the staff are there to support people at the time they need,” said Alberta Health Minister, Fred Horne.

Counsellors believe the bar has gradually been set almost unattainably high for many students.

“Students come to college now with jobs, lives, families, extended work outside and so putting the balance together with school and life is challenging,” said Lethbridge College director of student services, Shelley Carter-Rose.

That’s the reason week long breaks exist, to give students time to relax and regroup. But some students may be better off without the break if they feel they have nothing to look forward to.

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“It could be isolation, could be extra work piling up, could be maybe they wanted to go home and they couldn’t so a bit of loneliness,” said Carter-Rose.

 

Back in December, Lethbridge College announced it would be implementing changes to its counselling services program by laying off staff and outsourcing the job to Sheppel fgi. The move was met with harsh criticism from both student and local mental health professional but the college is sticking by the change, even during the lows a winter semester can bring.

“It’s an enhanced service and has different modalities,” explained Carter-Rose. “In the first two weeks of service we did an interim report and students are using the different modes.”

The government feels that support for students may just be found inside the classroom.

“Schools are more and more becoming equipped to offer that help,” added Horne.

Teachers are being trained to identify early stages of issues that students have. A lot of the time we’re not talking about a formal, psychiatric diagnosis, we’re talking about the stress of trying to get through university.”

 

 

Both the college and the University of Lethbridge offer counselling services to students during the reading week break.

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