The Royal partners to deliver lifelines to students

Editor's Note

This article originally appeared in a special report from The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.


While the world grappled with the complex implications of living in the time of a pandemic, students across Canada faced unprecedented mental health challenges. For one student at Algonquin College, a lifeline forged through a partnership between the RBC Foundation and The Royal made all the difference.

Last fall, while struggling with his feelings of depression, Henry* made the brave choice to go to Algonquin’s Counselling Services. The counsellor referred Henry to a family doctor within their Health Services Clinic, who then referred Henry for a psychiatric consultation with The Royal.

Thanks to a $250,000 donation to The Royal from the RBC Foundation, clients at the Youth Services Bureau and students at Algonquin have significantly improved access to virtual mental health care. Through this program, Henry received timely care that allowed him to “visit” with  clinicians via a secure video link. 

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By virtue of the partnership between The Royal and Algonquin; Algonquin’s counselling team received training earlier in the year and were able to help Henry set healthy boundaries and enact strategies to more effectively manage his anxiety and depression. 

When the counselling appointments at Algonquin concluded, Henry reflected that he had begun to accept his depression as an illness, and was better equipped to understand and manage it.

By facilitating access to timely psychiatric care and by sharing The Royal’s expertise with Algonquin, the special partnership greatly improved Henry’s quality of care and quality of life.

Thanks to the evidence of this partnership, Carleton University and University of Ottawa  have adopted a similar virtual care program for their students. This equates to over 40,000 college and university-aged students who have access to this expertise, and, as Henry taught us, life-saving care. 

*Not his real name


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