SACKVILLE (GNB) – Mental health among students will be the focus of a conference to be held by Mount Allison University in partnership with the provincial government from Sunday, April 29, to Tuesday, May 1.

The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour is funding the event, entitled Student Mental Health: Partners in Accessibility.

"Our government recognizes the pressing need to address mental-health education," said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Martine Coulombe. "Our Action Plan for Mental Health in New Brunswick 2011-18 sets the course for us to develop partnerships and explore how we can best support mental health. We want to ensure all mental-health students have accessibility and support as they pursue a post-secondary education."

The conference will examine a number of issues related to student mental health, including access to and delivery of mental-health services; best practices in student mental health; and transitioning to post-secondary education for students with disabilities.

"Many students struggle with mental-health issues, but because of the stigma that is often attached to mental-health needs, it is not a topic that has been discussed as openly as we would like," said Robert Campbell, president and vice-chancellor of Mount Allison University. "This conference will help to bring this very important issue to light, which will make it easier for our institutions to develop appropriate programs and polices to give students effective access to the help that they need."

Campbell, chair of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada committee on mental health, will deliver one of four keynote addresses. Premier David Alward will give the address at the opening night banquet.

The conference will include a full-day workshop run by Dr. Stan Kutcher, an internationally renowned expert in adolescent mental health, on transitioning from high school to post-secondary education. He will also present a keynote address on anxiety disorders, the most common mental-health disorder among those 15 to 25 years old.

Barbara Roberts, University of New Brunswick's human rights officer, will deliver a keynote address entitled Mental health in academia: barriers and facilitators of participation. Enid Weiner, who founded the mental-health disability service at York University in 1990, will discuss the evolution of that program during the last 22 years.

More information, including the conference schedule, is online


●    Mount Allison University (Student Mental Health: Partners in Accessibility):