By: Iain Burhoe and Nathan Hood
UPEI will be expanding its Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) program after it was announced it has received a $25,000 Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund grant.
The grant will go towards training two UPEI staff, Keith Lawlor and Ellen Whitrow, to become instructors in the ASIST program. As instructors, they will provide the two-day ASIST training for free to students, faculty, and staff, beginning with those who might be the first point of contact for students in a crisis that are interested in the program.
Treena Smith, the director of student affairs, said the plan is to have over 200 students trained through the ASIST program over the next three years.
In a media release, UPEI President Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, thanked Bell Let’s Talk for their support.
“On behalf of all members of the UPEI community, I thank Bell Let’s Talk for supporting the University’s efforts in suicide intervention with a Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund grant,” he said. “This grant will have a significant impact on our ability to encourage an open dialogue across campus about student mental health.”
UPEI is one of seven 2018 grant recipients from Atlantic Canada.
The grant announcement was made on January 17th in the AVC Learning Commons The event was attended by university staff, student mental health advocacy group Jack.org, and UPEI student athletes.
In addition to the grant, the university announced it will be providing free tickets to the women’s basketball game on January 27th and the women’s hockey game on February 2nd in celebration of Bell Let’s Talk.
The 2018 Bell Let’s Talk Day is scheduled for Wednesday, January 31st. Bell will donate five cents for any of the following on January 31:
- Text and talk: Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada,Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers
- Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk and Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
- Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk and use of the Bell Let’s Talk frame
- Instagram: Every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
- Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk filter and video view
Photo: UPEI is presented with a cheque for $25,000. From left to right: Myrtle Jenkins-Smith, Executive Director, UPEI Development and Alumni Engagement; Paul Montgomery, Senior Sales, Bell Aliant; Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, UPEI President and Vice Chancellor; and Treena Smith, Director of UPEI Student Affairs. (Photo by UPEI)