Mentally Healthy Campus Maturity Model

Mentally Healthy Campus Maturity Model

Assessing Progress and Making Decisions on Next Steps

The Challenge

Tackling complex systems challenges like mental health requires a host of factors (and organizations) to work together. However, this holistic view can be paralyzing: Which factors? How do we know how we’re doing, who should do it, and what should we do next? A maturity model can help focus efforts in complex systems challenges.

What is a Maturity Model? 

A maturity model is a scorecard that helps organizations understand their own capability and capacity to create and influence desired change. It supports Self-Review and Collaborative Conversations.

Because it is visual, it is helpful for explaining your progress to others who you might want to be advocating for resources or permission to make improvements.


What is a maturity model?

A maturity model is a tool that helps you have a visual picture of where you are presently, and where you might want to go next.  It also is a tool that helps you continuously improve your processes and the way you organize to achieve your aim of increasingly mentally healthy campuses. In other words, it is a tool you can use to complement your evaluation of outcomes you’ve achieved – a maturity model focuses on the capability to create change, rather than the change itself.

When we talk about maturity, we are not talking about whether individuals in the organization are juvenile or mature. Instead, we are talking about how confident an organization can be that it can routinely deliver on its commitments, and work effectively with others to foster a mentally healthy campus. For example, if your process for creating payroll checks is written down and anyone doing it has to have had a defined training program, that is more mature than a process that changes whenever someone new is doing it.

As a side benefit, this maturity model also gives more detail about the actions that are necessary to build a Mentally Healthy Campus. One of the challenges to making change on a whole system is that actions must be taken in many areas to influence the whole – and it’s hard to keep track of all of them at the same time. So we need a way for you to have a snapshot or dashboard, that shows how you’re progressing in each area, as well as how they are progressing as a whole.  Another challenge is that many organizations are influencing the outcome of mentally healthy campuses, and need a way to see quickly where they’re contributing compared to the other organizations.

The actions you can take as part of your strategy are clustered into four types, shown as quadrants in the diagram below. The circle in the centre is the organizational focus you are using to map. For Student Leaders, this will be your students’ association (SA).


The four quadrants are created by considering the following.

  • The top to bottom axis is Individual to Collective.
    • At the top, actions can focus on individual people or on a single organization (the SA in your case).
    • At the bottom, actions can focus on groups of people or the physical environment, as well as on the ecosystem of many professionals and many organizations.
  • The left to right axis is Intervening to Connecting.
    • On the left side are Intervening actions. These are actions to improve mental health and reduce stigma.  They can be interventions that focus on individual people (top left). If interventions are focused on groups of people or the physical environment they are on the bottom left.
    • On the right side are Connecting actions. These actions are about coordinating and structuring effort, whether in a single organization or in the ecosystem of many people and organizations. Top right relates to the organization (in this case the SA) that is the change agent. Bottom right relates to the group of organizations from the SA to the other institutional departments to the community agencies.

For more information on the types of activities you might include in each quadrant, see Mentally Healthy Campus Maturity Model Background.

Who can use the Mentally Healthy Campus Maturity Model and why?

The Mentally Healthy Campus Maturity Model is designed for use by a students’ association to guide its actions or to advocate for effort by others. The diagrams and explanations in this Toolkit assume the student association is the user.  Other organizations may find the Toolkit useful

The Model is useful in a number of ways.

  • It helps you create a balanced strategy for improving your mentally healthy campus.
  • It helps you know where you are presently, and where to invest your resources, time and creativity.
  • It can help you identify common outcomes of diverse activities. This will help your evaluation and learning to be more effective.
  • It helps you to satisfy your funders and others that you have:
    • approached your strategy in a purposeful way.
    • used their resources wisely.
    • looked for a sustained impact on student mental health and reduced stigma.
  • It can be an important way for students to improve collaborative activities on a campus by advocating that others also use it. This could be an interdepartmental mental health committee, an institution’s leadership, or even an external agency that is supporting mental health programming on a campus.

The Mentally Healthy Campus Maturity Model works with the Evaluation and Learning Framework. The Maturity Model helps track the actions or functions that are required to create an outcome, and the Evaluation measures the impact or outcomes that are achieved.

Using the Maturity Model

A maturity model can have different degrees of complexity. This design allows it to work with small, medium and large complex student associations, and with different levels of experience.  You can start with the basic level and then choose whichever level matches your capabilities and aspirations as you gain more experience:

Using the Maturity Model – Basic
Using the Maturity Model – Detailed
Using the Maturity Model – Advanced