The Alberta Post-Secondary Mental Health and Addiction Framework outlines key concepts, considerations and action strategies for addressing student mental health and addiction problems in post-secondary institutions. It is a collaborative document representing the perspectives of many stakeholders across the province. The goal of the framework is to provide comprehensive, systemic and Alberta-specific ideas for the creation of healthy, inclusive and resilient campus communities.
There is increasing attention being paid to the mental health and wellbeing of post- secondary students. Recent data demonstrates a large number of students are experiencing mental health problems, with many students reporting high levels of psychological distress, emotional difficulties and substance misuse (American College Health Association, 2013).
The post-secondary environment is being recognized as a place not only of education, but also as a resource for developing healthy and engaged people. There are well- defined links between academic success and student mental health. Research also shows that settings like post-secondary institutions can be designed and structured to have a positive impact on the mental health of students (Dooris, Dowding, Thompson, & Wynne, 1998). This is especially important given the multiple factors influencing student mental health and wellbeing.
With 26 publicly funded higher education institutions and more than 265,000 students currently enrolled, the Alberta advanced education sector is well positioned to have a positive impact in promoting healthy and resilient campus communities and shaping the development of contributing citizens (Government of Alberta, 2014).