Laurentian Leads the Way in Mental Health Programming for International Students

SUDBURY, ON, June 16, 2016 /CNW/ – International students at Laurentian University now have unprecedented access to 24/7 mental wellness counselling in their language of choice. Laurentian is the first university in Ontario to implement the SAFE program by, the industry’s leading mental health support program for international students.

Created by in response to the growing awareness of mental health issues among students, SAFE is the only program of its kind to offer students confidential counselling in their own language. Professionally trained counsellors from around the world provide culturally relevant support by phone, chat, email, video conference or in person.

“International students often experience additional challenges because of language and cultural barriers,” says Melissa Keeping, Director of International at Laurentian.  “We want to offer a program that supports students 24 hours a day, seven days a week in a format that will make them feel safe and comfortable. This program will enhance our support for international student success at Laurentian.”

Many institutions have already made the shift from mental health talk to mental health action. Within one year of launching, SAFE has been implemented by more than 20 colleges and school boards across the country. Since the program is designed to complement existing on-campus services, it is fully customized to each institution.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in emotional and psychological claims on the health insurance side,” says Keith Segal, founder of SAFE by “It inspired us to be more proactive and to provide resources and care to students before issues can escalate.”

Statistics show that 1 in 5 students will suffer from a mental health issue and that most outreach takes place between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. International enrolment at Laurentian has gone up by 17% in the past four years, making it even more important to provide specialized services outside of regular school hours.

Laurentian is dedicated to breaking mental health barriers and is a participating university in the “More Feet on the Ground!” initiative, an educational website on how to recognize, respond and refer students experiencing mental health issues on campus. In addition to the SAFE program, Laurentian offers on-campus access to medical and nursing staff, confidential counselling, a wellness centre and numerous educational support services and resources.

For further information: Bogumila Lapinski Anaya, Communications Strategist, Tel: 416 671 6644, Email:

Retrieved from the Edmonton Journal

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