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B.C. post-secondary students offered 24/7 helpline for the holidays

Many students may feel cut off from their peers, especially during the Christmas break
The B.C. government offers a 24/7 helpline for post-secondary students during the holidays.

In a bid to help post-secondary students during the Christmas holidays, the B.C. government is touting its free, 24-7 counselling and referral service called Here2Talk.

"B.C. students are struggling with pressures far beyond their course loads, as they navigate remote learning, housing, employment and isolation during the pandemic," said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. "Any student who needs mental health support, please reach out for help. Here2Talk is available to you whenever you need it."

Here2Talk provides year-round, 24-7 mental health support services for all B.C. post-secondary students, regardless of whether they live in Canada or abroad.

Students who are feeling depressed, stressed or anxious can get support whenever they need it and as often as needed.

Students can access chat sessions with a trained counsellor online at Here2Talk or by downloading the free Here2Talk app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

They can speak with a counsellor by phone toll-free at 1 877 857-3397 or direct at 604 642-5212. Students calling from outside Canada can dial +1 604 642-5212 (international calling charges may apply).

Here2Talk call and chat services are available in English and French, with some additional languages, such as Punjabi, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish and Arabic, supported over the phone based on availability to call centre providers.

If a language-specific counsellor is not available at the time of the call, services are offered in English and supported by a third-party translation service as required and as available.

Youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years are more likely to report mental illness and/or substance use disorders than other age groups, influenced by pressures ranging from financial stress to personal relationships, academics, sleep problems and stigma in seeking help.

Since Here2Talk launched in April 2020 and through October 2020, the service has been accessed almost 5,200 times. Students used the chat feature 75 per cent of the time and the phone call feature 25 per cent of the time.