Have no fear, help is here: Ontario offers mental health helpline


Ontario has officially launched Good2Talk, a mental health helpline available to college and university students.

Available to students 24/7, 365 days a year in both French and English, students can call in to talk about everything from academics and relationships to health and mental well being.

“We want to let college and university students know they aren’t alone and that there is help. The new supports will help them have a healthy, productive transition to post-secondary institutions and deal with newfound independence, both on and off campus,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, in a press release.

Trained professionals who have both education and experience dealing with a crisis situation answer phone calls. When students call they will be asked to choose between two options, the first is to receive current information about mental-health or drug and alcohol services and support both on and off campus. The second is to speak with a counsellor about their concerns. Students who don’t speak French and English can get services through a translator.

“There’s no doubt that there’s a need across Canada. We’d love to see other provinces join Ontario.” – Justin Hanna

Good2Talk is a telephone service with an average wait time of 46 seconds. While online messaging services are currently not available, Justin Hanna, marketing and communications manager at Good2Talk, says it is something they will look into for the future.

Currently, Ontario is the only province offering this kind of service to post-secondary students.

“There’s no doubt that there’s a need across Canada. We’d love to see other provinces join Ontario,” said Hanna.

According to Sheridan Campus Counselling: Faculty Guide and Resources, a document available to campus counsellors, many Ontarians live with a mental illness and still a lot of students suffer in silence.

“There’s still a huge stigma attached to mental health,” said Linda De Jong, a counsellor at Sheridan’s Hazel McCallion Campus. “Not a lot about suicide is reported. The stats are higher than we’ll ever know.”

Good2Talk has already seen an increase in the number of calls they receive.

“We’ve seen call spikes around midterms and we’ve seen call spikes around the Thanksgiving long weekend,” Hanna said. The busiest times for Good2Talk are expected to be around the most stressful times in the school year.

“Post-secondary students have never had a service like this, there’s a need for this,” said Hanna.

Good2Talk is brought to students by Kids Help Phone, ConnexOntario, 211 Ontario, the Ontario Centre for Excellence in Child and Youth Mental Health and post-secondary institutions.

To speak to a counsellor at Good2Talk call 1-866-925-5454.

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