Holistic Mental Health Strategies
This toolkit is one component of what will ultimately become a comprehensive toolkit for systemic and comprehensive approaches to a mentally healthy campus and community strategy. It has been developed to support the policy-mandated collaboration of the Post-secondary student mental health strategy . Achieving the intended outcomes of this strategy requires post-secondary institutions, student leaders, healthcare organizations and community support agencies to work closely together to align services and supports, and navigate student transitions. This requires common understanding of terms and diverse worldviews, shared frameworks, and tools.
This toolkit, and the individual tools within it, can be used to support those who wish to ground their activities in the student’s experience, and to use purposeful, theory-based approaches for designing and implementing health promoting and health-enabling environments strategies. These tools include an overall framework that embraces the infinite variations in students’ experiences and worldviews, as well as the myriad professional fields that are involved in student mental health and mentally healthy campuses. The toolkit also includes tools for assessing situations, and for road-testing strategy ideas or prototypes.
This toolkit aims to support those working at many scales
Comprehensive system change strategies are supported by tools that apply at many scales, so this toolkit is designed this way. It aims to support anyone aiming to improve post-secondary students’ positive mental health in mentally healthy campuses and communities:
- Individual services, programs, organizations, including:
- Student leaders, governance bodies of Post-secondary institutions, agencies, providers, community leaders,
- Service providers, professionals,
- Program Managers in agencies, student associations,
- Division, Department Heads,
- Executive Directors, Vice Presidents, Presidents responsible for broad program areas,
- Regional Hubs
- Macro-Policy, cross-Ministry, cross-governments
Toolkits as Legacies of Learning
The toolkit captures learnings of projects associated with post-secondary student mental health, and the “shoulders they stood on” of earlier projects. They have been developed as tools for scaling the experience gained from these initiatives. Additional ‘Legacy’ toolkits will be created as more and more people gain experience implementing the post-secondary student mental health strategy, and upload refined or new toolkits. These hopefully will form an evergreen repository of resources that are useful to those who’ve created or refined new approaches, or found helpful ways to scale promising practices.
Continuous learning and adapting tools
Healthy Campus Alberta is the steward for this toolkit. The tools are all still prototypes – additional refinements will be made as people gain more experience with them when designing and implementing their strategies. Since these strategies will be in new terrain for most organizations, a ‘learning and development’ approach will be as or more important than evaluative activities in the early stages of initiatives.
Ideas can be posted on the community conversation section of the toolkit. Healthy Campus Alberta will steward the process for revising as well as adding new tools on the site.