Royal Bank donates $100k to YukonU student wellness initiatives

WHITEHORSE, YT—Yukon University Foundation has received $100,000 from the RBC Youth Mental Health Well-being Project to enhance student wellness initiatives.

YukonU will draw upon the newly released National Standard of Canada for Mental Health & Well-being for Post-Secondary Students to provide the framework for an integrated comprehensive Mental Health and Wellness strategy. This month, the university will form a mental health and wellness committee of students, staff, faculty and Elders to guide the design and delivery of new and expanded initiatives.

A vital first step to addressing mental health on campus is creating a climate in which people feel comfortable discussing it. 

“We’ve seen increasing uptake of mental health, wellness and Elders on Campus initiatives from students in recent years. Removing barriers to student success is vitally important and we want our students to help guide the ways we do this. We’re grateful to RBC for kick-starting this next phase of student wellness at YukonU, and supporting us in our efforts to become early adopters of the new national standard,” said Dr. Maggie Matear, interim president and vice-chancellor.

The RBC Youth Mental Health Well-being Project funds initiatives that address the immediate need of youth and their family to access mental health services. The Project is particularly keen to support the significant Indigenous student population at YukonU (28% of all students) and the continued success of the Elders on Campus initiative and spaces like Roddy’s Camp which continue to offer vital connection and healing during this time.

“Now more than ever, Indigenous students need strong support from their families, loved ones and their communities to work through challenges we know will be felt in the weeks and months ahead,” said Leanne Ponich, RBC Regional Vice President, Edmonton North. “Indigenous communities have a long history of partnering with RBC, and this is a good example of how we can support them. We understand the important role that mental wellness plays in their lives, and we are pleased to be able to support students in this critical area.”

The RBC donation is the first piece of a multi-year, phased effort in support of sustainable wellness initiatives for all students, faculty and staff.

The university has asked long-time senior executive Colleen Wirth to head up this exciting new project beginning November 16. Wirth brings a wealth of experience in health, community development, student services, advocacy, Campus Housing and student wellness to this new role.

For more information, please contact

Michael Vernon

Communications Coordinator

Governance and External

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