In light of new federal flight restrictions between India, Pakistan and Canada, post-secondary international students living on Vancouver Island and beyond are being offered mental health supports.

This past Thursday, Canada suspended incoming passenger flights from India and Pakistan for the next 30 days.

The ban was imposed after a massive increase in COVID-19 cases in the region; India had more than 300,000 new cases on Thursday alone.

The Province of B.C. says students feeling stressed or anxious about these new restrictions, or who are unable to return to their families, have access to free 24-7 supports, including Here2Talk.

Students can access chat sessions with a trained counsellor online at Here2Talk.ca, or by downloading the free Here2Talk app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

They can also speak with a counsellor by phone toll-free at 1 (877) 857-3397, or direct at (604) 642-5212. Students calling from outside Canada can dial +1 (604) 642-5212 (international calling charges may apply).

The Province notes Here2Talk call and chat services are available in English and other languages, including Punjabi.

“B.C. will continue to monitor changes to federal travel restrictions and communicate with its institutions to ensure it is responding to all new federal requirements,” the Province adds.

“International education makes an important contribution to B.C. students’ education and the economy. Government’s priority is to ensure B.C. continues to deliver the safe and quality education experience all students expect and deserve.”