The Ministry of Education is proposing a 24/7 province-wide mental health counselling, information, and referral service for secondary school students.

The details of the plan are still unknown, but they are taking bids for the project on the BC Bid website to develop the 24-hour service.

Superintendent for School District 54, Chris van der Mark said any effort to provide students with additional support is helpful.

“Often the issues people have are when they are isolated or alone, and they have no support around them,” said van der Mark.

Statistics say students aged 15 to 24 are more likely to report mental illness or substance use disorders than any other age group.

Van der Mark said the school district has already taken a proactive approach to deal with mental illness by adding an emotional help teacher to provide support for both students and staff.

“One of the changes I think we are seeing is greater awareness of what that means and how it looks and feels for different people. I think certainly in the education sector there is far more focus around some of the issues associated with mental health,” said van der Mark.