New financial supports offered to students living with schizophrenia

Yes2Me logoStarting this year, Red River College students living with schizophrenia will have the chance to apply for a new scholarship available to Manitobans pursuing post-secondary educations.

It’s hoped the new Yes2Me Scholarships — worth $1,000 and sponsored by the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society (MSS) and the Otsuka-Lundbeck Alliance — will help bridge the gap between the 70 per cent of people living with schizophrenia who wish to pursue post-secondary studies, and the 30 per cent currently in the workforce.

The relatively low workforce figure is attributed to both social stigma and a lack of opportunities for those living with schizophrenia and other mental health issues. Research suggests creating pathways to post-secondary education can result in positive outcomes and help address disparities.

“A large part of the recovery process for a person living with schizophrenia — or any illness — is being able to access post-secondary education,” says Chris Summerville, executive director of the MSS. “There are barriers that can stand in the way. This can include stigma, financial burden, lack of accommodation and other issues. The importance of post-secondary education is perhaps even greater for students with a mental illness.”

Representatives from RRC’s Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative are encouraging students from all nine of its campuses to apply for the new scholarship, which seeks to reward young people who are pursuing educational goals, building a better self and working towards a brighter future.

“Individuals living with schizophrenia — with supports, accommodations and services offered through [the Healthy Minds Healthy College strategy] — have the opportunity to pursue their post-secondary academic and career goals, achieve success, and contribute to the community at large,” says Laureen Janzen, manager of Counselling and Accessibility Services at RRC.

Otsuka-Lundbeck and the MSS are also providing two additional $1,000 scholarships to Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) First Nations and Inuit people who are pursuing post-secondary education while living with schizophrenia.

Eligible students are encouraged to apply before Aug. 31, 2017.