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Atlantic Canadian post-secondary students to benefit from enhanced mental health services

Speakers at last week’s announcement included, from left to right: Peter Halpin, AAU executive director; Robert Campbell, Mount Allison University president; Elizabeth Cawley, AAU regional mental health coordinator; Erik Sande, Medavie Health Services president; Anne Comfort, Mount Allison University director of accessibility and student wellness, and Ossama Nasrallah, St. Mary’s Students’ Association president and CEO. PHOTO SUBMITTED
Speakers at last week’s announcement included, from left to right: Peter Halpin, AAU executive director; Robert Campbell, Mount Allison University president; Elizabeth Cawley, AAU regional mental health coordinator; Erik Sande, Medavie Health Services president; Anne Comfort, Mount Allison University director of accessibility and student wellness, and Ossama Nasrallah, St. Mary’s Students’ Association president and CEO. PHOTO SUBMITTED

SACKVILLE, N.B. – The Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU), in partnership with Medavie Health Foundation (Medavie), has created a full-time regional coordinator position dedicated to supporting student mental health initiatives for post-secondary education (PSE) institutions across Atlantic Canada.

Elizabeth Cawley has been appointed as the Regional Coordinator and was introduced by the AAU and Medavie representatives last Wednesday at ‘From Survive to Thrive’, a regional student mental conference hosted by Mount Allison University.

Medavie’s investment to create the regional coordinator position, which is also supported by the region’s 16 universities and six community colleges, will increase capacity for further collaboration on challenges related to student mental health. Cawley serves the region’s PSE institutions from Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL.

“For the past five years, Medavie Health Foundation has been a highly supportive partner helping our universities and community colleges improve student mental health services”, said Alaa Abd-El Aziz, president of the University of Prince Edward Island and Chair of the AAU. “Meeting student mental health needs is one of the most pressing issues on our campuses. With Medavie’s generous support, the AAU is fortunate to have attracted someone of Dr. Cawley’s background and experience to help our institutions meet student needs as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

“We recognize that post-secondary life can be challenging for students”, commented Bernard Lord, Medavie CEO. “This new position will help enhance mental health initiatives at campuses across the region, helping our students not just survive, but thrive. It’s also an example of a different kind of health care - one that begins on campus in helping students stay in school and live their best lives. Ensuring people receive the right support at the right time aligns with the way Medavie thinks about health care.”

Peter Cornish, director, associate professor, and director of the Memorial Counselling and Wellness Centre at Memorial University, as well as the co-chair of the AAU student mental health committee, said, “Through the synergy of our Atlantic-wide collaboration, we are poised to lead the country with innovative, highly engaging wellness programming. This aligns very well with the collective academic mission to prepare the next generation to thrive and lead with passion, purpose and an ethic of care.”

For more information on the AAU, visit atlanticuniversities.ca, and for the Medavie Health Foundation, visit medaviehealthfoundation.ca.

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