Ontario introduces Good2Talk 24-hr helpline for stress, mental health

Kids Help Phone CEO Sharon Wood at Ryerson University on Oct. 4 for the announcement of Good2Talk's launch. | Courtesy Good2Talk Kids Help Phone CEO Sharon Wood at Ryerson University on Oct. 4 for the announcement of Good2Talk's launch. | Courtesy Good2Talk

Adriana Zhang
News reporter

Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities has created a new helpline geared towards post-secondary students to address rising concerns about mental health among young people.

The Good2Talk helpline is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.

“Good2Talk is a free and confidential resource for students to call about stresses big and small on any issue of mental health,” said Justin Hanna, spokesperson for Good2Talk.

Through the phone service students can speak to professionals who are trained in both diagnosed and undiagnosed mental disorders, he said, noting a variety of issues can be discussed including “emotional well being, substance abuse, addictions, financial stress, relationship concerns, or counseling.

“Both the government and partners behind this service strongly feel this is a valuable resource for students,” said Hanna.

Recently, the University of Toronto at Scarborough partnered with Good2Talk to host an information session for faculty members and students about the service.

“We know that mental health is in the media a lot, especially concerning post-secondary students and we want to be able to support them in their roles,” said Elsa Kiosses, interim manager of the campus’ Health and Wellness Centre. “Unfortunately the services offered on campus are not open all the time.”

Whether students are helped directly through campus services or indirectly through supportive programs, it’s important to let students know about the options available to them, said Kiosses

Hanna said undiagnosed mental health issues, relationship concerns and anxiety-depression are the top three issues why students call the helpline.

Statistics Canada has reported that the number of young adults between the age of 20 and 34 who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder has increased to 492,266 in 2012, up from 453,672 in 2011.

Jacob Goldstein, a second-year business student at the University of Guelph-Humber, said he knows quite a few people who suffer from anxiety, especially during exam period.

“I have an assignment due in two hours that I’ve barely started, and all of my assignments are due around the same time,” said Goldstein.

Catherine McKee, registered nurse coordinator at Humber, said the college offers various services at the Health Centre and Counseling Centre, to help students cope with the pressures of school.

Students can call Good2Talk at 1-866-925-5454, or by dialing 211, from anywhere in Ontario.