Notes from the MLA: Making life better for Northern Lakes College students

Danielle Larivee,
MLA for Lesser Slave Lake

In Alberta, we take care of people in our communities. We take care of children, youth and students, who deserve every opportunity to succeed and thrive. Those values have driven my work, first as a public health nurse supporting families in our region for almost 18 years, and today as your MLA. These values also drive our government in the work we do to make life better for families.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the Northern Lakes College Slave Lake campus on behalf of my colleague, Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt, to announce our government’s support for student mental health at NLC, and for post-secondary students across Alberta.
Our government is providing NLC with $290,000 in funding each year for the next three years, as part of a $25.8-million investment to protect and improve post-secondary mental health supports province-wide.
I’m so proud to have NLC as part of our community, and to see the positive impact this institution continues to have across the region. I want every student at NLC to have access to the mental health support they need, when they need it. That means access to supports if they are experiencing test anxiety, someone to talk to if they have experienced sexual harassment or assault, or accessing resources if they are struggling with an addiction.
Through my own experiences as a nurse, as a nursing instructor and as co-chair of Alberta’s Mental Health Review Committee, I know how important these supports are. And I know how real the challenges and struggles students and young people face can be. When our government reviewed the way we support mental health in Alberta, I heard loud and clear that we need to do more to support the well-being of students, who are often at greater risk of mental health challenges due to the pressures of academia.
As a result of the committee’s work, our government released 32 recommendations aimed at supporting mental health by strengthening service delivery to Albertans with mental illness and addictions. Since the release of the recommendations, our government has been making practical changes to protect and improve the things that matter most in students’, and Albertans’, lives.
At last month’s announcement, I shared a story from when I was a nursing student and struggled with a massive course load and other challenges many students face, but was able to pull through with the help of my friends, family, and a strong network of support. I want to make sure the students of NLC are able to do the same.
This grant is an important step in ensuring that young people in northern Alberta have the tools and support they need to succeed as they pursue their dreams. I’m proud that our government is investing in the health of students in this community, and all across the province.
We know these resources are needed, and it is our responsibility to look out for those who may be struggling. We owe it to our students, and our province, to ensure that if someone needs help, they know they can get it.
Please take a minute to check in with your friends and family, especially if you know they’re struggling. It can change a life, and even save a life. There is no shame in getting the help you need to live a healthy life.


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