Simon Fraser University (SFU) and Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) have launched a new 24/7 free mental health app for students called My Student Support Program (My SSP).
The two-year pilot project provides students with confidential 24 hour access to counsellors through the mobile app. Students can instant message counsellors for help with emotional issues such as managing relationships, adjusting to living away from home and to receive crisis support.
SFU Students can book an appointment with a counsellor through the app requesting one who speaks speaks a specific language, for example, or identifies as a specific gender, religion or as Indigenous.
“It was imperative that SFU provide support to the entire SFU student population, including graduate students, undergraduate students, diverse international perspectives; LGTBQ+ students, indigenous students, student athletes, students with disabilities and more. We are honoured to be able to reach more students every day and to be a part of their journey toward a successful educational experience," says guard.me president and CEO Keith Segal.
The app connects students with resources including videos and articles that support positive well-being including achieving a healthy life balance, better sleep and how to be practice mindfulness.
"My SPP will be situated amidst a strategy that addresses timely, accessible, supports for those in need; settings that promote well-being and a caring community; and health education as well as addressing mental health stigma,” says Martin Mroz, SFU’s health and counselling director.
Canadian post-secondary institutions have seen a spike in demand for mental health support services on campus, according to the Education Advisory Board.
The 13 Canadian post-secondary institutions surveyed saw an average 35 per cent increase in the number of counselling appointments on campus.
My SSP is funded by SFU's University’s Student Experience Initiative in partnership with student insurance provider guard.me and human resources technology firm Morneau Shepell.