The Psychological Wellness Centre (PWC) at the University of New Brunswick has received a $19,500 Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund grant to help expand the centre’s group therapy program for adolescents and teens.

The grant was announced during the opening of the centre’s new location in the C.C. Jones Student Services Centre on the UNB Fredericton campus.

The PWC’s trans-diagnostic program helps teens who have symptoms of depression and/or anxiety but are not eligible to receive treatment through the school system. These teens are often placed on long wait lists for therapy.

Affiliated with UNB’s department of psychology, the PWC plays a vital role in the greater Fredericton community, providing affordable diagnostic and therapy services for children, adolescents and their parents. It also serves as the fundamental training facility for doctoral students in UNB’s clinical psychology program. The new, central location of the PWC will increase the visibility of this important resource on campus.

The PWC’s group therapy program allows therapists to serve a large number of youth at the same time. Together, adolescents learn about the function of emotions, how to identify and respond to emotions, and how to manage the physical and cognitive aspects of emotional experience.

Dr. Meghan Richards, director of the PWC, said that Bell’s support will enhance the centre’s ability to offer sustainable programming to teens and their parents in the community.

“With the funding from Bell Let’s Talk, UNB’s Psychological Wellness Centre will provide additional unified protocol training to staff and graduate students, tailored to adolescents in a group format,” said Dr. Richards. “This will benefit program participants for years to come.”

The grant will also help the PWC enhance the parent education portion of the program.

“Parents are often the most influential people in a teen’s life,” said Dr. Richards. “Offering an expanded parent program will have a multiplier effect, ensuring teens have maximum family support to manage symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress.” UNB Vice-President (Academic) Dr. George MacLean thanked Bell Let’s Talk and other key donors who have helped make the PWC a vital mental health resource in the greater Fredericton community.

“Thanks to Bell Let’s Talk and support from generous alumni like Fiona Green and her husband Jim, the PWC has positively affected hundreds of community members,” said Dr. MacLean. “What began with seed funding has grown into a vibrant centre that provides a variety of services to children, adolescents and their parents. We are grateful for this support.”

“Bell Let’s Talk is very proud to help the Psychological Wellness Centre at the University of New Brunswick offer additional training for both staff and graduate students to support adolescent group therapy in the community,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “Having doubled the annual Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund to $2 million this year, we are helping some 120 organizations in communities across Canada, like the PWC, who are making a difference for those affected by mental illness.”

The Bell Let’s Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk Day and significant Bell funding of community care and access, research and workplace leadership initiatives. To learn more, visit bell.ca/letstalk.

Media contact: Kelsey Pye

Photo: From left: Ivan Broz, directory of solution delivery with Bell Business Markets, Charlene Belu, UNB PhD candidate in psychology, Dr. Meghan Richards, director of the Psychological Wellness Centre, and Dr. George MacLean, vice-president (academic) at UNB Fredericton. Credit: Rob Blanchard/UNB.