CBU and Province of Nova Scotia Collaborate on Mental Health and Addictions Community Conversation

Cape Breton University and the Nova Scotia Office of Addictions and Mental Health hosted a community conversation on mental health and addiction issues on November 29, 2021.

Presented by the Honourable Brian Comer, Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health, and the Minister responsible for Youth, and facilitated and Chaired by CBU President and Vice-Chancellor and former Federal Minister of Health, David C. Dingwall, the conversation provided a platform for CBU student support and mental health staff, students and community clinicians to offer solutions for enhancing supports on campus and in communities across the province.

The conversation focused on mental health and addictions issues as they affect postsecondary students. Special guest speaker, Senator Stan Kutcher, an expert on youth mental health, addressed the attendees and spoke to current mental health issues, including distinguishing mental illness from everyday stress and the inter-relationship of mental health states. Senator Kutcher’s remarks set the tone for a productive community conversation about the needs of students and innovative, healthy ways of meeting those needs.

“We know that youth are often more vulnerable to experiencing mental illness and so it is critical that the right supports be in place when and where they need them,” said Minister Comer. “Our post-secondary institutions play a significant role in promoting mental health on campus and in our communities. Working with Cape Breton University and other institutions across the province, we can identify real solutions to better support the needs of students and youth.”

“Mental health and addiction issues are prominent on university campuses globally,” says President Dingwall. “And so, we were thrilled to collaborate with the Province of Nova Scotia to create a platform and a safe, open space for solution-based, respectful dialogue around these issues. As leaders in the community, we must all work together to create innovative and meaningful solutions. Cape Breton University along with our Max Bell Health and Counselling Centre were thrilled to participate and are very much looking forward to creating positive change in the community, and the Province.”

“We know young people, including post-secondary students struggle with mental health and addiction,” says the Honourable Brian Wong, Minister of Advanced Education. “As Minister of Advanced Education, I am committed to working collaboratively with my colleagues, including Minister Comer, to ensure the supports that are already in place for our post-secondary institutions are working, and any future supports have students at the center. As an educator, I always appreciate any opportunity to hear first-hand from students about their experiences, struggles and victories, and I appreciate the bravery it takes for students to share their stories. I want them to know we are listening and we are committed to continued and enhanced support.”