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 Letâ€™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 Â 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 Letâ€™s Talk for their support.
â€œOn behalf of all members of the UPEI community, I thank Bell Letâ€™s Talk for supporting the Universityâ€™s efforts in suicide intervention with a Bell Letâ€™s Talk Community Fund grant,â€ he said. â€œThis grant will have a significant impact on our ability to encourage an open dialogue across campus about student mental health.â€
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 womenâ€™s basketball game on January 27th and the womenâ€™s hockey game on February 2nd in celebration of Bell Letâ€™s Talk.
The 2018 Bell Letâ€™s Talk Day is scheduled for Wednesday, January 31st. Bell will donate five cents for any Â 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 Letâ€™s Talk Day video view
- Facebook: Every view of the Bell Letâ€™s Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk and use of the Bell Letâ€™s Talk frame
- Instagram: Every Bell Letâ€™s Talk Day video view
- Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Letâ€™s Talk filter and video view
Photo: UPEI is presented with a cheque for $25,000.Â From left to right:Â Myrtle Jenkins-Smith, Executive Director, UPEI Development and Alumni Engagement;Â PaulÂ 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)