Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX Class of 2019 establishing Emergency Mental Health Bursary as Senior Class Gift

January 9th, 2019
L-r, senior class co-president Carl Miller, senior class development officer Kylie Ito, and senior class co-president Sarah Comandante

The StFX Class of 2019 is establishing The Emergency Mental Health Bursary as its Senior Class Gift, creating a legacy that will help support students who are dealing with mental health concerns. 

“The intent of this bursary stemmed from our desire to create a gift that would increase mental health support for students of all years, programs, and backgrounds,” says senior class co-presidents Sarah Comandante and Carl Miller, who are working with fellow senior student Kylie Ito, the senior class development officer, to establish the bursary. 

“Every person at some point in their life will be affected by a mental health concern,” they say.

University students in particular can face many challenges, including being away form home, unique new stress that accompanies university, and financial burdens that can cause distress.   

“This bursary is essentially an ‘accessibility bursary’ that will have the opportunity to provide necessary support to students facing sudden and unexpected compromising circumstances. This may include, but certainly is not limited to, travel costs to fly a student home for a funeral, rehabilitation program costs, grocery cards if a student is unable to work at the time due to a mental health concern, legal or travel costs to support a student who is a victim of sexual violence, and so on.”

They plan for the bursary to be distributed under the privy of StFX Health and Counselling Centre staff so that there is no need for students to apply and subject themselves to disclosing sensitive information. 

“We also believe that the doctors, nurses, and counsellors at the centre are the best personnel to judge a situation for when a student may benefit from this bursary. This also eliminates the confidentiality breach of a third party being involved to assess eligibility.”

The goal, they say, is to raise enough money so that the bursary will be self sufficient enough to provide a fixed amount of funding to the centre each academic year for distribution, and the funds can be distributed as needed, not based a fixed number of students. 

“We hope that through the creation of this bursary, the stigma surrounding mental health will continue to be lowered and encourage students to reach out for the help they need.” 

Anyone interested in learning more or in making a donation is encouraged to do so here www.stfx.ca/classof2019

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