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Representatives from UM and Bell Let's Talk hold a large cheque for $100,000

New funding bolsters mental health on UM campus

$100,000 grant from Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund will support Student Wellness Centre

January 19, 2023 — 

The University of Manitoba (UM) has received a $100,000 grant from Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund to support mental health initiatives on its campuses. UM is one of 10 universities in Canada to receive such funding and it will go towards establishing a new Student Wellness Centre (SWC).

UM is proud to offer extensive and accessible mental health and wellness supports for the campus community, but the physical infrastructure of the campuses can be a challenge for resource visibility. The Student Wellness Centre will serve as a hub for students to access a wide range of Health & Wellness and Healthy U services.

“With support from Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund, the University of Manitoba will create a Student Wellness Centre where students can connect, learn, and enhance their mental health and well-being,” says Laurie Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students). “Supporting student health and wellness is integral to providing an exceptional university experience. We thank Bell Let’s Talk for its generous support, which will enable us to enhance our peer support programming and help students navigate essential student support services.”

Students will be set up to better maintain their wellness at UM and will be encouraged to prioritize their well-being as students. The SWC will not only encourage students to engage with current services, but will also enhance future services by facilitating cross-unit collaborations and programming delivery.

Campus Mental Health Facilitator Arlana Vadnais and Health and Wellness Educator Bryanna Barker applied for the grant, and are thrilled to improve connectivity between students and the supports available to them, with help from Bell Let’s Talk.

“Our intention is to provide and support a safer space where students can inquire about wellness topics and feel represented and connected while doing so,” says Barker. “We will be inviting student feedback as we implement and assess this project. We want to ensure the centre is developed through collaboration between students, staff and faculty. Our vision is to have a space reflecting a student perspective, ensuring we maintain best efforts in meeting students where they are at.”

The SWC will be staffed by student (peer) health educators and supervised by the health & wellness educator, who is a registered psychiatric nurse. Other students in training such as those in practicum placements will also have the opportunity to develop crucial skills as future professionals in health promotion. The grant will also go towards creating pop-up SWCs at the Bannatyne and William Norrie campuses.

This project will be a significant step in destigmatizing mental health care and wellness practices, building on the UM’s commitment to provide accessible, inclusive, respectful and holistic support for our community.

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