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N.S. government launches website to help university students access mental health support online

Click to play video 'Healthy Minds Nova Scotia' Healthy Minds Nova Scotia
We find out more about the launch of HealthyMindsNS, a new online mental health program for post-secondary students to complement in-person counselling services available on campuses. – Jan 28, 2020

The Nova Scotia government launched the HealthyMindsNS website on Jan. 16 to make it easier for post-secondary students to access mental health support.

The site currently lists five free mental health e-tools, including Kognito, TAO, 7 Cups, Crisis Text Line and Good 2 Talk.

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7 Cups provides online therapy and free support to “people experiencing emotional distress by connecting them with trained listeners,” according to its website.

Good 2 Talk is a confidential helpline that connects post-secondary students with a professional counsellor who can provide support on a range of topics, including school-related stress and anxiety; relationship, work or financial challenges; concerns about substance use, panic or crisis; and thoughts of suicide.

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All the services are available 24-7.

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In-person treatment and counselling will still be available at universities, according to the province. However, it hopes the “online services can play an important role in providing students with a variety of support options that can be accessed at any time and in a private way.”

“Student mental health is not a nine-to-five issue. This suite of services complements in-person care by providing anonymous, around-the-clock services to help students in need,” said Mary Navas, chair of Students Nova Scotia.

“As students, we all face routine stressors — academics, work, extracurriculars, finances, relationships and more. These tools help students by providing several free, accessible outlets to help mitigate hardships when students need it most.”

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The province said each university and college across Nova Scotia can select the programs that best complement its current service offerings.

For example, Nova Scotia Community College said in a press release that “Kognito’s online training offers the college’s employees an additional tool to strengthen their ability to lead meaningful conversations with students about their academic, social, emotional and physical health.”

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Université Sainte-Anne in Halifax also offers HealthyMindsNS services in French.