UPEI receives a $25,000 Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund grant to support mental health training

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
From left are Myrtle Jenkins-Smith, Executive Director, UPEI Development and Alumni Engagement; Paul Montgomery, Senior Sales, Bell Aliant; Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, UPEI President and Vice Chancellor; and Treena Smith, Director of UPEI Student Affairs.

The University of Prince Edward Island is pleased to announce a $25,000 Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund grant in support of UPEI’s Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) program.

Funding will allow two UPEI Student Affairs employees to be professionally trained as instructors in the ASIST program. Once trained, these instructors will offer the two-day ASIST program free-of-charge to students, faculty and staff at UPEI, beginning with high-priority groups such as residence life coordinators, Student Affairs staff and other employees who may be the first point of contact for students in a crisis.

“On behalf of all members of the UPEI community, I thank Bell Let’s Talk for supporting the University’s efforts in suicide intervention with a Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund grant,” said UPEI President and Vice-Chancellor, Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. “This grant will have a significant impact on our ability to encourage an open dialogue across campus about student mental health.”

Having members of the UPEI campus community trained in suicide intervention will not only further the discussion about the state of student mental health, but also provide crucial support to students in need. By being proactive and making this training available, UPEI hopes to sustain a healthy and supportive community across campus.

“This is a very exciting development in UPEI's move to better equip our whole campus community to support our students, faculty and staff,” said Treena Smith, Director of Student Affairs. “Our plan is to have over 200 people trained in ASIST over the next three years and this is all due to Bell Let's Talk funding.”

“Bell Let’s Talk is very proud to provide a $25,000 grant to support the University of Prince Edward Island’s ASIST mental health training program,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “The 2017 Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund provided 70 grants to support programs providing mental health services in communities around the country that help Canadians living with mental illness.”

Bell Let’s Talk Day is January 31
Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of these interactions on January 31, at no extra cost to participants:

  • Text and talk: Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers
  • Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk and Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
  • Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk and use of the Bell Let’s Talk frame
  • Instagram: Every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
  • Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk filter and video view

The Bell Let’s Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk Day, and provides significant Bell funding of community care and access, research and workplace initiatives. To learn more about the Bell Let’s Talk campaign, and to download the Bell Let’s Talk toolkit to help get the conversation started, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

About the University of Prince Edward Island
The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.

Nicole Phillips
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