B.C.’s colleges and universities have a new tool to support students facing mental health crises on campus.

Let’s Talk about Suicide: Raising Awareness and Supporting Students, is a a digital anti-stigma resource launched by BCcampus.

It’s designed to help faculty and staff listen without judgment and start conversations about suicide.

“Now more than ever, post-secondary students, faculty and staff need access to mental health supports,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. 

“This new suicide prevention resource will help faculty and staff start courageous conversations with students, so that people who are struggling know someone cares, and that there is help and hope.”

The province says the resource offers sensitive, respectful, detailed training on suicide awareness and response. 

Using case scenarios, faculty and staff can practise conversations about suicide and build practical skills for supporting students who may be at risk. 

The material can be used for a two-hour synchronous training session or as self-study.

“Post-secondary students can struggle with mental health because often they are far from home, their loved ones and their support networks. The uncertainty of moving to a new place, combined with the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, can cause distress,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. 

“We know that some days, students won’t feel OK so we’re committed to providing the mental health resources that will help them when they’re struggling or when they just need to be heard. Our goal is to help students succeed.”

BCcampus is a government-funded organization. 

The province says its primary focus is “to support post-secondary institutions adopt, adapt and evolve their teaching and learning practices to create a better experience for students. This resource is part of the BCcampus Mental Health and Wellness Project, which develops training materials to be used with faculty and staff, funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.”

B.C.’s post-secondary students experiencing mental health concerns can also access Here2Talk, a free and confidential 24/7 mental health counselling and referral service designed to support them. 

They can access master’s-level-trained counsellors any time, any day, as often as needed by phone, app or the web. 

Here2Talk’s call and chat services are available in English and French. Some additional languages, such as Punjabi, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish and Arabic, are offered over the phone based on availability.