Good2Talk is a new 24/7 helpline designed specifically for university students in Ontario. The professionally trained counsellors on the other end of the line can talk students through problems that range from severe mental health crises to exam stress, and they can recommend resources close to the caller — including resources that are right on campus.

University students face a unique combination of challenges and stressors, especially at a large school like the University of Toronto. Finding resources and support to help with juggling a heavy workload, family responsibilities, money worries, relationship problems, and planning for the future can seem like an impossible task to the average young adult.

On Tuesday, January 21, UTSC will be hosting an event to promote Good2Talk and to educate students on how they can best make use of the service. Fiona O’Connor, Good2Talk partnership coordinator,  will speak about the initiative and encourage students to support mental health on campus. The UTSC event will take place from 1-2 pm on January 21 in Arts & Administration Building, room 160. The service was created to address specific challenges encountered by today’s post-secondary students. Good2Talk is a partnership between Kids Help Phone and provincial health agencies ConnexOntario, Ontario 211, and the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health.

“Students at this stage in life can face many pressures including living on their own for the first time, stress over grades, drug and alcohol use or abuse, and concerns over collecting student debt,” said Alisa Simon, vice president of Counselling Services and Programs at Kids Help Phone in an interview with The Varsity. “We also know that depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges often emerge in adolescence and into young adulthood — exactly the time when many students are graduating from high school and transitioning to college or university. These challenges can feel overwhelming.”

A free call to Good2Talk can be made on any day of the year and is a great first step for seeking help due to its short wait times. “A student can call Good2Talk and generally speak with a professional in one to two minutes,” said Simon. “This accessibility gives students an additional resource to assist with any situation they are facing. For students who are on waiting lists for services on- or off- campus, or who are still undecided on whether they want to seek in-person support, Good2Talk can be an added resource.”

Service is offered in English and French, and an additional 170 languages are supported through an outside translation service.

Most importantly, a call is 100 per cent anonymous ­— the phone number will not be tracked and the caller will not be required to give any identifying information. “This means that students can be assured that when they call Good2Talk about any challenge they are facing, their identity and confidentiality are protected,” said Simon.

To access Good2Talk, call 1-866-925-5454.