Talking about mental health can be hard, but, sometimes it’s good to talk.
Good2Talk was founded in partnership with Kids Help Phone, Ontario 211, ConnexOntario and the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, to provide students between the ages of 17 and 25 with a service they can call if they need support, information or a safe place to talk but are unsure of where to turn.
Funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Good2Talk is offered in both English and French, and is completely free for students to use. It is designed to provide professional counselling and information, referrals for mental health, addictions, and more to Ontario post-secondary students.
Launched in October 2013, Good2Talk provides the same confidential service as Kids Help Phone, but is geared towards an older audience, to help those who are no longer in elementary or high school.
Good2Talk receives 20,000 calls each year from post-secondary students, a number much higher than originally expected, according to Outreach Coordinator, Megan VanMassenhoven.
“About a year ago, we saw a fairly big increase. Our original proposal to the ministry anticipated about 600 calls from students per month, based on what our partners experienced on their own services, and very quickly, we were getting 1,500 to 2,000,” she says.
“We always see November and March as our highest call volume months and we can probably attribute that to the December and April exam periods. In November and March, you have your final assignments due and exams coming up, you have a lot going on – so those are always our very busy months.”
Good2Talk helpline staff are fully trained in ASIST – Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, and are there to handle things such as suicide prevention, but VanMassenhoven wants to remind students that they can call Good2Talk for anything.
“We want students to know that they can reach out at any time, for any issue, big or small. If it’s important to them, we want to hear about it.”
From now until April 2017, Good2Talk is campaigning to promote help-seeking among students on 37 post-secondary campuses across Ontario, with the hope that more will become aware of the service and use it as they need it.
If you or someone you know is struggling Good2Talk can be reached at 1-866-925-5454