Student Mental Health Journey Scenarios – Starter Set

A student’s mental health is personal and unique, so a student body will have many different paths. Scenarios help stress test or reality check programs and services.

Student Mental Health Scenarios are a tool to work within the reality that each student’s journey is personal and unique. However, a post-secondary institution or community agency needs a core approach in order to plan and manage services. One way to bridge this dual requirement is to approach it with a mass customization approach. This means establishing a core approach based on the appropriate underlying worldview – which can then be adapted by program designers and front-line staff to match the specific circumstances they are working with. Management and policy architecture will have been developed with the same worldview in order to support this adaptation by the front-line professionals and staff.

Scenarios provide a way to achieve this dual requirement – to ‘road test’ potential program design and management processes, as well as the required characteristics of policy to support BOTH adaptation at the front line to match individual clients’ realities, AND congruence with the desired overall outcomes at the societal level.

These draft scenarios are inspired by stories but are not a single person’s story. Note that the scenarios are only one option for a student’s mental health trajectory (journey) – different choices or experiences at many transition points would affect the direction that a student’s journey takes.

The scenarios are intended to complement the Student Academic Journey Map

This starter set of student mental health journey scenarios is intended to help highlight some of the diversity of possible student experiences, and to provide am illustration of a format for additional scenarios. Additional scenarios will be required that Illuminate particular challenges. These depend on deeper research with particular groups, such as indigenous students, international students, students with disabilities, LGBTQ2S and other characteristics that are illuminated through viewing the intersectionality of personal narratives.

Each scenario is expressed through two approaches:

  • A narrative
  • The graphic expression of the narrative as developed by participants in a collaborative workshop. The trajectory of this student journey is illustrated as an emotional trajectory

Scenario 1 – “Mary” (PDF)

Scenario 2 – “Zoseph”(PDF) 

Scenario 3 – “Ying” (PDF) 

Scenario 4 – “Max” (PDF)

In addition to these scenarios, a visual description of one narrative is provided. This illustrates the waxing and waning of a person’s capacity to respond productively to life challenges, and the pattern of a stress response when challenges exceed a person’s capacity to respond productively.

The Starter Set of Scenarios does not include the range of possible transitions that a student may need to navigate. Transitions are particularly important in developing health-promoting and health-enabling environment strategies because they add to the student’s stress level. If a student is already challenged to cope with the level of stressful challenges, transitions will be times of concern. A starter set of student transitions that can influence mental health, illness and addictions have been added as an additional tool, which can overlay any of the scenarios.