Communications and Marketing

RRC Polytech Partners with Bell Let’s Talk to Launch a Peer Support Program for Students, Co-Designed by Students

January 16, 2024

The new Peer Support program will provide critical well-being and mental health support for students at the College’s eight Manitoba campuses.

After identifying a gap in student wellness and mental health support on campus, in 2021, RRC Polytech engaged students in the co-design of an innovative Peer Support program, thanks to a Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund Kickoff Grant. And today, Bell Let’s Talk has invested an additional $100,000 to get this critical program off the ground, enabling RRC Polytech to expand our student well-being supports.

While RRC Polytech provides a vast selection of well-being programming, including sport and fitness, mental wellness, counselling services and recreation activities, through surveying students and developing the Healthy Minds Healthy College Strategy, the College recognized the growing need to provide peer support to promote student well-being.

Greater awareness about and access to well-being resources and supports across our campuses is a top priority because maintaining good mental health helps students develop stress management skills, build positive relationships, achieve academic success, and can even boost physical health.

“The goal of RRC Polytech’s Healthy Minds Healthy College Strategy is to enhance belonging, connection and well-being, so students can thrive in their educational journeys and lives. Thanks to the Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund, we will be launching an innovative Peer Support program for students, co-designed by students. The program aligns with our mental health strategy, which includes reducing stigma and barriers to seeking support as well as promoting a proactive approach to stress reduction and wellness, rather than waiting until crisis hits,” said Fred Meier, President and CEO, RRC Polytech.

The Peer Support program is a collaborative effort between the College’s Campus Well-Being area and the RRC Polytech Students’ Association, who thanks to the investment from the Bell, will be able to work with expert partners to develop the necessary program policies, recruit and select suitable students, train peer supporters, and launch, promote, and evaluate the program.

The program will see a diverse group of students trained to provide support for their peers. Peer Supporters will learn best practices to ensure they can provide critical mental health support to their peers, while also practicing good self-care, and receiving support for their own well-being.

Through training a diverse pool of peer supporters, it increases the likelihood that a student in need of support will connect with another student with whom they can relate. Building a trusted, supportive relationship with a peer supporter is key in reducing stigma around discussing mental health and creating greater student awareness of resources available on and off campus.

To ensure the sustainability of the Peer Support program, the RRC Polytech Students’ Association will be providing funding to the amount of $50,000 per year, over the next three years, for a total commitment of $150,000. The funding will go towards all elements of running, evaluating and promoting the program, as well as providing honourariums for Peer Supporters.

“Bell Let’s Talk is proud to support our eight new community partners in Manitoba that are connecting youth and adults living with mental health challenges with the critical support they need, when and where they need it. Bell Let’s Talk continues to support organizations like these across the country and we look forward to kicking off another year of action and real change for mental health with Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 24,” said Mary Deacon, Chair, Bell Let’s Talk.

RRC Polytech is one of the eight organizations receiving funding as part of Bell’s investment in mental health in Manitoba. Bell’s investment in mental health extends to initiatives with Sagkeeng Child and Family Services, Newcomers Employment & Education Development Services (N.E.E.D.S.) Inc., Child and Family all Nations Coordinated Response Network, Candace House, Bruce Oake Recovery Centre, Kidthink Children’s Mental Health Centre and Steinbach Community Outreach. Read Bell’s release, here.

Currently, RRC Polytech, Campus Well-Being and the RRC Polytech Students’ Association are working with expert partners to get the Peer Support program ready for an anticipated launch date in early 2025. For more information about Campus Well-Being at RRC Polytech, visit

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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