New Brandon University centre brings together rural mental health studies

Photo: Brandon University (Dr. Rachel Herron, right, is the founding director of BU's new Centre for Critical Studies of Rural Mental Health. The cross-disciplinary centre will be hosed in the Faculty of Health Studies, led by Dr. John Moraros, Dean, at left.)

Brandon University has approved a new Centre for Critical Studies of Rural Mental Health to accelerate the already growing number of studies on rural and remote mental health and wellness at Brandon University, link research results to people who can use them, and support education and community engagement in relation to mental health.

The centre, housed in the Faculty of Health Studies, will serve as a point of contact and network for academics, researchers, students, community members, professionals, educators and the broad range of people who live with and support people living with mental health problems.

“Mental health affects so many different groups of people, no one academic discipline, profession, or community holds the solutions to better mental health and well-being” said Dr. Rachel Herron, a Canada Research Chair in Rural and Remote Mental Health at BU who is the centre’s founding director. “The centre will bring different groups of people together to work on, share and improve what we know as well as how we respond to mental health problems.”

There is growing awareness of mental health problems and needs across the Prairie provinces and Canada. Recent research indicates that in Manitoba alone, 28 per cent of adults were diagnosed with at least one mental health problem or an addiction in the past five years and there were 262 reported suicide attempts for every 100,000 Manitobans. Research, leadership, education, and community engagement are essential to addressing mental health issues.

Brandon University is already a leader in promoting mental health through the Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing program and the Master of Science in Mental Health, which is the only Master of Psychiatric Nursing in Canada.

The new centre will build on those strengths and will provide a home for cross-disciplinary research that explores rural mental health from a multitude of angles. New and ongoing research in other areas of health studies will continue to be supported as well.

“The centre reaffirms our strong institutional commitment and supports work that helps address pressing and emerging issues in the field of rural mental health, while adding to the vast suite of research already being done in the Faculty of Health Studies and across Brandon University,” said Dr. John Moraros, Dean of BU’s Faculty of Health Studies. “This will have a lasting impact in improving the health and wellness of people in our region, province, nation and beyond. We welcome people to join and support our exciting initiative.”

(Source: Brandon University News Release)