TIMMINS, ON: Northern College has joined forces with Cambrian, Canadore and Confederation Colleges to promote understanding and support for mental health and wellbeing across these college institutions through a pan-northern initiative titled Bridging the Distance. Funding totalling more than $972,000 for this project has been provided by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
Bridging the Distance encompasses four pillars: web portal; distance counselling; faculty and staff support; and peer support. Each college has taken responsibility for one of the pillars, and all partner institutions will benefit from each other’s efforts to provide support and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Each college has clearly defined how they will implement their specific objectives. Northern College is developing a peer support program in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). Individuals trained as Peer Supports will work closely with Northern College’s Advising department, encouraging staff and students, including those studying from a distance, to seek help from available resources.
Northern College is devoted to improving educational access and supports for all students, including those facing specific obstacles to success. “Northern College’s dedication to accessibility takes on many forms,” said Northern College President, Fred Gibbons. “Through support systems like Bridging the Distance, the harmful stigma attached to mental illness continues to be broken down and our students, staff and communities are able to become resilient, healthier and more productive.”
Bridging the Distance is part of Ontario’s investment of $27 million over three years to provide improved mental health services for college and university students throughout the province. The post-secondary support program is part of the multi-year $257 million Mental Health and Addictions Strategy announced in the 2011 Ontario Budget.
Manager, Marketing and Communications
Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology
705.235.3211 ext. 2253