OVERVIEW >

BreathingRoom™ is a transformational, evidence-based, award-winning, e-mental health program designed to build resilience in youth and young adults (aged 13–24). BreathingRoom™ offers new ways to rebound from setbacks and to better manage symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety while strengthening coping strategies.

The interactive program is fun, and speaks directly to youth through music, videos, comedy clips, personal stories from other young people, visualizations and practical exercises which can be used immediately for effective and lasting results. The youthful host guides participants through the program, introducing materials and relating them to her life experiences.

The 20 hour program consists of eight modules that address foundational principles proven essential to personal resilience in youth and adults. The modular design allows young people to engage at their interest points and progress at their own pace. Though designed to be completed in its entirety and in sequence (one module per week for eight weeks; 20 minutes per day), participants also reported receiving great value from completing single modules and exercises and in the order they wish.

BARRIER-REDUCED RESOURCE >

Youth care professionals and educators value the program as a safe, effective, and accessible tool. BreathingRoom™ reduces the barriers to youth getting the much needed help they need. Educational organizations are including the program in their curricula in a variety of areas such as orientation for new students and resources for wellness. BreathingRoom™ is also a valuable tool that is being used to bridge long wait times for consultation and to decrease stigma.

Supported by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and leading mental health professionals, BreathingRoom™ is a beneficial adjunct to conventional treatment. Youth reported that as a result of the program they are more comfortable seeking help.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT >

BreathingRoom™ was developed by Calgary-based CINIM (The Canadian Institute of Natural and Integrative Medicine) in collaboration with Mount Royal University, the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services. The program was created with input from youth, educators, youth health professionals, youth service providers and parents; and with clinical and visionary insight from CINIM’s leadership. Evidence of effectiveness of the principles and strategies used in BreathingRoom™ is supported by a vast body of literature and three rigorous trials conducted by CINIM. The results of all three trials irrefutably demonstrate that BreathingRoom™ is effective in reducing the symptoms of depression.

BreathingRoom™ is the recipient of the 2014 True Imagination Award from the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Circle on Mental Health and Addiction which recognizes this unique and innovative program as a valuable resource for building resilience in a vulnerable population.

BreathingRoom™ is available as an online program or as an App. Visit www.cinim.org/breathingroom to learn more about this life-changing program.

Download document

Hello Healthy Campus Alberta! 

We are looking forward to seeing many of you at our Wellness Summit/Learning Event on June 14th (for more details and to register for the June 14 event, click here:  http://www.ucalgary.ca/wellnesscentre/healthycampusalberta).  As part of this great day, we would like to showcase the many wonderful mental health initiatives that are currently making a difference on post-secondary campuses across the province. So if you know of or are involved in such an initiative…we want to hear from you! 

Our goal is to put together a directory of Alberta post-secondary mental health initiatives that will be handed out to all of those attending the event and later posted on our website:  www.healthycampusalberta.ca

To be a part of this, please send Danielle Stewart-Smith ([email protected]) the following information by May 30, 2016:

  1. Name of mental health initiative/program
  2. Brief description of the mental health initiative and its focus (Abstract Length: up to 500 words)
  3. Main contact information and website link (if applicable) for those interested in finding out more

Thanks for helping us make Healthy Campus Alberta something great!  We look forward to hearing from you!

Danielle

Danielle Stewart-Smith

Healthy Campus Alberta Coordinator

University of Calgary

Office Hours:  Tuesdays and Thursdays 9-5

MSC 370, 2500 University Drive NW

Calgary, Alberta CANADA T2N 1N4

(403)220-6927

www.ucalgary.ca/wellnesscentre

Download document

Chili’n’Conversation: Feeding the whole student; building a healthy community.

Recent research compiled by CACUSS & CMHA (2013) affirms that attending to the needs of the whole student within a whole and healthy environment requires attention to a number of factors—physical, psychosocial, emotional, academic, financial, occupational—as well as basic needs. It also asserts that “these factors are all interrelated and significantly impact the student learning experience and well-being” (p. 6).  Therefore, academic success requires balance or having needs met in all domains.  Knowing this to be true and supported by research (Bell, 2014; Stonechild, 2006), Iniskim offers services wholistically, bringing personnel and supports to the students (mainly First Nations, Inuit, & Métis [FNIM] although the centre is open to all) to meet these needs.  Often this occurs in innovative ways.

One such innovation is the brainchild of Dr. Kathy Offet-Gartner, R. Psych, a Counsellor who attends Iniskim weekly and Ms. Kelli Rae Morning Bull, the Student Success coordinator for the centre who designed a weekly discussion group that is casual, relaxed, and is open to all who choose to attend.  The intent is to offer a safe venue for students to gather casually, to meet new people, discuss topics that are relevant and chosen by them, while eating nutritious and healthy food prepared by Kathy and Kelli.  The success of this group has been amazing—beyond our expectations, serving on average 15 students each week for both the Fall and Winter semesters! 

Attending to the needs of the whole student within a whole and healthy environment requires attending to more than academics and basic needs.  Hence finding ways to offer services and information in wholistic ways is paramount.  The feedback from the students has been fantastic and they have come to look forward to the community, sharing, laughing and feasting together.  One participant summarized her experience with Chili ‘n’ Conversation as “it is like a family; I feel at home, nurtured and loved—thank you for helping me feel at home”.  Another aptly said “I was on my way out–I was leaving MRU behind—it was just too much.  I was lonely, afraid, and I knew no one.  Then I got invited to Chili n’ Conversation.  I was made to feel welcome. I was fed and accepted, I felt myself opening up.  I found safety, acceptance, and encouragement to carry on.  I did and now have my first year behind me and many friends and family.  Chili ‘n’ Conversation is what gave me the courage to stay—thank you!”

Without a doubt, Chili ‘n’ Conversation has proven to be a very successful and satisfying way to bridge culture, wellbeing (including mental health), retention, and academic success.  We will continue to build on this success and offer it again.

Meegwitch!  Kathy & Kelli

Download document

University of Alberta Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) Mental Health Initiatives:


The U of A GSA has been involved in several important initiatives aimed at promoting mental health for graduate students.

When the U of A received a three-year provincial grant in support of mental health initiatives, the GSA successfully advocated for a psychologist specifically for graduate students to be located in a satellite office in Triffo Hall (the same building that houses the GSA). This is an important service, as some graduate students feel hesitant to go to the main offices of Clinical and Counselling Services as they may run into undergraduate students they help teach or otherwise supervise.

We regularly negotiate with the University for the continued provision of the Graduate Student Assistance Program. Offered through Homewood Health, this service provides additional counseling services to graduate students (beyond what they receive as U of A students and what is offered through the GSA’s Health and Dental Plan). It also provides a range of other services, such as nutritional counseling and access to a fitness trainer, that we see as contributing to mental health.

We are actively engaged in a broad range of mental health focused committees and working groups on campus and in the province.   

In the fall of 2015, we secured funding through an Unwind Your Mind grant offered through the Wellness Centre, and hosted a series of Graduate Student Coffee Breaks. We have now obtained this grant for a second time and will offer a mobile version of our Coffee Breaks in fall 2016. Our goal with these events is to reach out to a wide variety of graduate students and offer stress relief and an opportunity for participants to meet people and make friends and connections. Graduate student work can be isolating and the related stress can be difficult to manage; these breaks provide space for graduate students to relax and build peer connections. Likewise, fostering a positive and informal atmosphere in which students can relax and socialize will help them build social and support networks. We believe that stronger social bonds create more resilient and happier students and that support networks are vital to graduate student success and overall wellness. The pressure on graduate students to produce academic results and advance in their programs can be very intense and many will benefit from a break scheduled specifically to step away from their work, de-stress, unwind, and meet a friend. This is especially so if these breaks occur near to their offices or labs and are thus very convenient to attend. We are looking forward to offering these Graduate Student Coffee Breaks in furtherance of the GSA’s vision of a healthy campus as one where every graduate student has a healthy work-life balance and a community to rely on in times of need.

Contact Information:

Graduate Students’ Association Killam Centre for Advanced Studies
1-49 Triffo Hall
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E1

(780) 492-2175 

[email protected]

http://gsa.ualberta.ca/

Download document

Counselling and Clinical Services, University of Alberta

Mental Health Initiatives

  • Expanded hours of service on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings to improve access to mental health services
  • Addition of Psychologist staffed Satellite Offices in the Faculty of Arts (Humanities Centre), Sciences (Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science), Engineering (Innovation Centre for Engineering) and Graduate Studies and Research (Triffo Hall) to promote mental health and facilitate ongoing relationships with Academic Advisors/Deans/staff who interact with students on a regular basis
  • Initial Consultation Service to determine student need and provide corresponding appropriate internal and external resources
  • Prevention and education focused drop-in workshops for students on a wide variety of topics including depression, anxiety, relationships, wellness, yoga for mental hygiene, etc.
  • Free short-term individual counselling sessions for current students
  • Group counselling/skills building for variety of common presenting student issues
  • Faculty/staff workshops developed to assist in having a healthy classroom, support services on campus and how to support students in distress
  • Presentations/supportive services to student volunteers who are in a helping capacity on campus
  • Presentations on request to Faculties
  • Annual participation in various orientations
  • Mental Health Video Series – 3 video series available through Dean of Students website that address various components of mental health
  • Positive U, a campus-wide program to enhance student resiliency
  • U of A Mental Health Check-In Day: campus-wide multi-disciplinary initiative to initiate and facilitate discussion around mental health
  • Crisis response on campus
  • ACCESS project, a national research project (5 year initiative) focusing on identification and treatment of emerging mental health struggles and teaching coping for adolescents and young adults
  • Physical presence at tables and booths at various campus and community events to raise mental health awareness and provide information on our services
  • Partnering with other wellness providers and services in other campus initiatives to improve health including Unwind Your Mind during exam periods, Community Helpers Program re: mental health and stigma prevention, Movies for Mental Health, etc.
  • University of Alberta Suicide Prevention Framework
  • Mindful Moments for students to have a space to engage in healthy coping strategies
  • Translation Project to reach out and connect to International Students.

For more information please visit our website at https://uofa.ualberta.ca/current-students/counselling or contact:

Dr. Jake Tremblay, Registered Psychologist

Director of Counselling and Clinical Services

University of Alberta

2-600 Students’ Union Building

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2J7

Phone: (780) 492-5205

Fax: (780) 492-0013

Download document

             The Peer Support Centre at the Students’ Association of Medicine Hat College (SAMHC)

The Peer Centre at the Students’ Association of Medicine Hat College is a drop-in centre where Medicine Hat College students can access support services, such as counselling services, peer counselling, sexual health information, food bank support, and community referrals. Services are offered by our Peer Support Coordinator who is a registered social worker, as well as peer support volunteers who are trained to deliver quality peer support services.

The Peer Support Coordinator and peer support volunteers implement mental health initiatives and community education activities on campus related to family violence, stress reduction, mental health, sexual health, drug and alcohol use, sexual assault and consent, and much more. Our goal is to create a community of open-mindedness and acceptance on campus, where students are more comfortable with talking about difficult issues affecting them. Examples of fun activities we plan throughout the year include pet therapy, meditation, hula hooping, and awareness fairs.

The Peer Support Centre partners with McMan Colour Me Free to offer Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) support services on campus. A youth group for individuals aged fourteen to twenty four is held at Medicine Hat College every Wednesday from 3:30pm to 5:30pm. The Peer Support Centre also offers a LGBTQ+ Safer Spaces Workshop in partnership with McMan Colour Me Free.

If you would like more information about the Peer Support Centre please contact Stephanie Power (Peer Support Coordinator at SAMHC) at [email protected] or (403) 502-8992.

Download document

Mental Health and Wellness Committee

Formed late in the 2014-2015 academic year, the Mental Health and Wellness Committee supports and promotes mental health and wellness of graduate students at the University of Calgary.

The Committee has three main purposes:

  1. Create a more positive community for graduate students at the University of Calgary.
  2. Identify resources, both on and off campus, that support and promote graduate student mental health.
  3. Advocate for students with mental health issues and reduce stigma associated with mental illness.

The Committee organizes events and workshops for graduate students. The events provide an opportunity for students to relax and socialize with fellow graduate students and the workshops educate students on wellness. Events held in the past include paint nights, mindfulness workshops, and sleep hygiene workshops.

The Committee created a document that compiles a list of mental health resources and information regarding procedures for academic concerns arising from mental health struggles. The academic concerns include sick leave, accommodation for Teaching Assistants, and changing from full-time to part-time status.

Email:

Website: The document will be posted soon http://gsa.ucalgary.ca/

Download document

Mount Royal University Initiatives

The Working Mind:

The Working Mind: Workplace Mental Health and Wellness is an education-based program designed to address and promote mental health and reduce the stigma of mental illness in a workplace setting. Goals of the 3.5 hour training are to support the mental health and wellbeing of employees; to enable the full productivity of employees; to ensure the workplace is respectful and inclusive of all employees, including those with mental health problems and mental illnesses, and to encourage employees to seek help for mental health problems and mental illnesses. This workshop was adapted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and based on the Department of National Defence’s Road to Mental Readiness Program.

The ABC’s of Helping

The ABCs of Helping is intended to prepare student leaders on campus to understand issues related to mental health, develop communication skills, understand the limits of their role, and acquire skills for referring students to appropriate resources. Students complete online training that takes approximately 2-3 hours. This online training is followed by 6 hours of in-person training that focuses on discussion and practice.This workshop was created and facilitated by Dr. Mirjam Knapik of Student Counselling Services.

Faculty Options for Responding to Students in Distress

This new 1.5 hour workshop is designed to provide faculty with a model for conceptualizing mental health and mental illness, to gain an overview of the range of student sources of stress, to understand how students in distress might present, and to understand what interferes with academic performance. In addition, the workshop helps to increase knowledge about options for connecting students with appropriate resources, to understand the case for maintaining role boundaries, and to understand the “Look/Listen/Link” approach from the World Health Organization to respond to concerning behaviour in face-to-face interactions. This workshop was created and facilitated by Dr. Mirjam Knapik of Student Counselling Services.

The Peer to Peer Mental Health Program

The Peer to Peer Mental Health Program offers students a holistic approach to mental health and wellness education. The focus is to assist students by offering support, guidance, and a variety of educational activities to achieve program goals of eliminating stigma and raising awareness of mental health and wellness on campus. The vision is engagement and empowerment of students through a peer to peer mental health program. The 4 main pillars are: 1) awareness and education; 2) creating a safe community with open dialogue; 3) eliminating stigma; and 4) promoting wellness and resiliency in lives of students. Program initiatives include mental health awareness raising events such as National Depression Screening Day, Proud2BMe, MRU Let’s Talk, and Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

BreathingRoom

BreathingRoom is an online, 8 module program for youth and young adults aged 13-24, who want to learn new ways to manage symptoms stress, anxiety and depression.

Download document

Outrun the Stigma

Outrun the Stigma is a student led initiative aimed at reducing the stigma surrounding mental health that prevents people from expressing their authentic selves, discussing their experiences, seeking support, and feeling a sense of belonging into their community. Outrun the Stigma began when a group of students identified a gap in the running culture for runs that support mental health issues. As running events assume an important role in garnering attention, resources, and public support for health issues, Outrun the Stigma organizes an annual 5km walk/run and 10km run by the same name that brings community members together to discuss mental health experiences, listen to a community speaker share their mental health experience, connect community members with mental health resources, and support local mental health services. Since October 2013, Outrun the Stigma has organized three annual events, each bringing together over 350 students, community members, and volunteers and raising a total of $25,000 for Distress Centre Calgary. Beyond the annual run, Outrun the Stigma aims to facilitate yearlong dialogue and activities that address mental health stigma through partnership with community organizations, universities, and grassroots initiatives.

 

Outrun the Stigma is transitioning to a non-profit organization (NPO) with the aim of expanding our run and other initiatives to campuses and communities across Canada. Our goal is to reduce the stigma associated with mental health by bringing communities together to share mental health stories, connect with mental health resources, raise funds to support local mental health services, and elevate mental health awareness.


Co-cordinators : Jenna Dobry and Amanda Lee

Email : [email protected]

Download document

Community Helpers Program Background:

  • Funded by Alberta Health Services as part of a peer helping initiative towards suicide prevention in youth and young adults

Program Philosophy:

  • Every group has natural helpers that others tend to gravitate towards when they need support
  • Aims to identify these natural helpers and offer tools, skills and resources to support individuals who come to them in distress
  • Ensures these helpers are maintaining their own self-care in the process   

Outcome for RDC: 


Campus Connections training is available to students, faculty and staff who wish to strengthen their personal capacity to support students and others on campus.  Training opportunities are provided throughout semesters to assist participants to:

  • Feel supported
  • Look after themselves
  • Help people solve their own problems effectively
  • Identify community resources
  • Refer people to community resources for additional help

Core Modules of Training:

  • Who is a Community Helper
  • Ethics in Helping, Labeling, Trust and Teamwork
  • Knowing When People Need Help
  • Listening & Helpful Resources
  • The Helping Skill and Self-Helping Skill
  • Limits and Strategies
  • Enabling and Handling Stress
  • Marginalized Identities and supporting those who are LBGTQ
  • Mental Health Awareness & Stigma
  • Addiction
  • Suicide Awareness & Intervention
  • Supporting Victims of Violence: Strategies for Community Members
  • Relationships & Conflict Resolution
  • Handling Crisis Situations, Helping Resources

For further information, please contact Janet Spafford, Campus Connections Coordinator at 403-342-3205 or [email protected].

Download document

Make Some Noise for Mental Health

Make Some Noise for Mental Health awareness campaign:

Make Some Noise for Mental Health is an award-winning post-secondary initiative created by the Trojan Outreach Program to promote mental health awareness on campuses and is endorsed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in Alberta. It was created by the SAIT Trojans Athletic department and their Trojan Outreach Program in 2015 and had expanded to all 17 schools in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference in 2016.

WHY? THE GOALS:

  • Reduce/eliminate the stigmas related to mental health, wellness and mental illness
  • Create awareness about local mental health resources on campus and through the Canadian Mental Health Association – Alberta (CMHA) and surrounding community
  • Encourage empathy and understanding by developing an open-minded perspective through conversations about mental health
  • Activate at home games and campus-related events; led by athletics staff and student-athletes
  • The focus is awareness. 

Highlight video of 2015 campaign: https://youtu.be/CgjK7iQiuao 

Main Contact: Billie Rae Busby, SAIT Trojans Marketing and Communications Coordinator 403-284-8187 [email protected]

Website: http://www.saittrojans.com/sports/2015/1/21/Make%20Some%20Noise%20Campaign.aspx

Download document

             The Peer Support Centre at the Students’ Association of Medicine Hat College (SAMHC)

The Peer Centre at the Students’ Association of Medicine Hat College is a drop-in centre where Medicine Hat College students can access support services, such as counselling services, peer counselling, sexual health information, food bank support, and community referrals. Services are offered by our Peer Support Coordinator who is a registered social worker, as well as peer support volunteers who are trained to deliver quality peer support services.

The Peer Support Coordinator and peer support volunteers implement mental health initiatives and community education activities on campus related to family violence, stress reduction, mental health, sexual health, drug and alcohol use, sexual assault and consent, and much more. Our goal is to create a community of open-mindedness and acceptance on campus, where students are more comfortable with talking about difficult issues affecting them. Examples of fun activities we plan throughout the year include pet therapy, meditation, hula hooping, and awareness fairs.

The Peer Support Centre partners with McMan Colour Me Free to offer Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) support services on campus. A youth group for individuals aged fourteen to twenty four is held at Medicine Hat College every Wednesday from 3:30pm to 5:30pm. The Peer Support Centre also offers a LGBTQ+ Safer Spaces Workshop in partnership with McMan Colour Me Free.

If you would like more information about the Peer Support Centre please contact Stephanie Power (Peer Support Coordinator at SAMHC) at [email protected] or (403) 502-8992.

Download document

The Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) reaches out to MacEwan students to foster mental health and reduce stigma through a variety of programs and services including:

  • Peer Support is students helping students. Student volunteers provide a confidential space where students can talk about their troubles in a safe environment, and access health resources from MacEwan University and the Edmonton area.
  • SAMU understands it’s hard to operate on an empty stomach. To ensure students have the sustenance they need to start their day, SAMU’s Breakfast Club offers a healthy breakfast for participating students on a monthly basis.
  • Full-time students are eligible for full health coverage under the SAMU Health and Dental Plan, which includes coverage of prescription drugs, services such as seeing a psychologist or a massage therapist.
  • Paws for a Study Break is SAMU’s invitation to all students to come and visit with some therapy dogs on campus, get their cuddles in, and their stress out. These dogs are brought in about once a month and are sure to reduce the tension of the academic semester and to bring a smile to any student’s face.

SAMU’s Lifestyle & Wellbeing programming aims to create a healthy campus culture that educates, motivates, and empowers students to be mindful of their health — physically and mentally. Our mission is to provide students with the tools they need for a balanced healthy and productive lifestyle.

Lifestyle & Wellbeing focuses on raising awareness for mental health issues affecting the student community through campaigns and events. The focus of this program is to provide students with tools for coping with stress, anxiety, and other conflicts weighing on their state of mind. Lifestyle & Wellbeing works at the administration level to advocate for student well-being through policy, procedures, and University programming throughout the institution, the city, and province. These programs go hand-in-hand as they surround the short term and long term future of student health. By teaching students how to live a balanced lifestyle, we set them up for success even after they’ve graduated.

Once a semester we run StressLess – a program of events and opportunities at all three campuses focuses on reducing stress during the exam period and includes actives like:

  • Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Rubix Cube and Slinky competitions
  • Ping Pong Room  
  • Free breakfast including pancakes, eggs and sausage
  • Paws for a Study Break with therapy dogs
  • Build your own ice cream sundae
  • A free chair Massage by MacEwan Massage Therapy students
  • Mini-Golf Challenge
  • Dance Dance Revolution competition
  • Giant Jenga
  • Mini Manicures by Marvel College and MC College students
  • Crafts – make your own clock out of a record!
  • Art therapy colouring books
Download document

The Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) reaches out to MacEwan students to foster mental health and reduce stigma through a variety of programs and services including:

  • Peer Support is students helping students. Student volunteers provide a confidential space where students can talk about their troubles in a safe environment, and access health resources from MacEwan University and the Edmonton area.
  • SAMU understands it’s hard to operate on an empty stomach. To ensure students have the sustenance they need to start their day, SAMU’s Breakfast Club offers a healthy breakfast for participating students on a monthly basis.
  • Full-time students are eligible for full health coverage under the SAMU Health and Dental Plan, which includes coverage of prescription drugs, services such as seeing a psychologist or a massage therapist.
  • Paws for a Study Break is SAMU’s invitation to all students to come and visit with some therapy dogs on campus, get their cuddles in, and their stress out. These dogs are brought in about once a month and are sure to reduce the tension of the academic semester and to bring a smile to any student’s face.

SAMU’s Lifestyle & Wellbeing programming aims to create a healthy campus culture that educates, motivates, and empowers students to be mindful of their health — physically and mentally. Our mission is to provide students with the tools they need for a balanced healthy and productive lifestyle.

Lifestyle & Wellbeing focuses on raising awareness for mental health issues affecting the student community through campaigns and events. The focus of this program is to provide students with tools for coping with stress, anxiety, and other conflicts weighing on their state of mind. Lifestyle & Wellbeing works at the administration level to advocate for student well-being through policy, procedures, and University programming throughout the institution, the city, and province. These programs go hand-in-hand as they surround the short term and long term future of student health. By teaching students how to live a balanced lifestyle, we set them up for success even after they’ve graduated.

Once a semester we run StressLess – a program of events and opportunities at all three campuses focuses on reducing stress during the exam period and includes actives like:

  • Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Rubix Cube and Slinky competitions
  • Ping Pong Room  
  • Free breakfast including pancakes, eggs and sausage
  • Paws for a Study Break with therapy dogs
  • Build your own ice cream sundae
  • A free chair Massage by MacEwan Massage Therapy students
  • Mini-Golf Challenge
  • Dance Dance Revolution competition
  • Giant Jenga
  • Mini Manicures by Marvel College and MC College students
  • Crafts – make your own clock out of a record!
  • Art therapy colouring books
Download document

Students Distress Centre Club

Students Distress Centre Club – Students’ Association of Mount Royal University

Club Description: The Students’ Distress Centre Club (SDCC) aims to raise awareness about the Calgary Distress Centre and other resources available to Mount Royal University students in Calgary. This is achieved through collaboration with other clubs and organizations on projects which address mental health concerns, provide crisis support, or promote self care activities and wellness. The SDCC  facilitates opportunities for club members and students to engage in discussions regarding mental health and crisis intervention. The SDCC also supports the Calgary Distress Centre through fundraising, referrals, and collaboration.

Club Mission: To promote self-care activities, educate students about resources around Calgary, and increase mental health awareness on Campus.

Email – [email protected].com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/studentsdistresscentreclub

Website – http://www.samru.ca/club/samru-clubs/

Download document

Student Mental Health Learning Series

Description of the Initiative:

Counselling Services has noted an increasing demand from staff and faculty for consultation and information about mental health concerns that are common among our student population, how those concerns may present in class and on campus, and how to respond when concerns arise.

We see this as an opportunity for (1) an educational/professional development intervention that will enhance student support and also as (2) a vehicle to advance our College-wide goal of creating an inclusive learning environment that supports a mentally healthy campus.

Our response has been to develop a series of professional development Learning Sessions that provide information on the “mental health complexion” of students attending post-secondary institutions in Canada, and NorQuest in particular. Sessions also explore the elements of a mentally healthy learning environment at NorQuest, and how participants may contribute to that goal in their daily work at the College. (Note: sessions are not Mental Health First Aid)

The first target group was faculty, as this is the group from which our Service has received the greatest increase in demand for supports and professional development, and are the group most likely to have daily close contact with learners. Sessions for instructors focused on classroom concerns and were delivered as collaborative dialogues facilitated by Counselling Services and other faculty from divisions across campus. Approaching topics in a context of partnership has been integral to meeting our objective. We want participants to consider the question: “How might we work together, in collaboration, to support a mentally healthy environment for our students?”

The series was promoted on the NorQuest’s Learning Resource Network (LRN) and received approval as a professional development activity for faculty. To date, three dialogues have been concluded with very positive feedback from attendees. The sessions are as follows:

  • Session #1, “Student Mental Health in the Classroom” was hosted and facilitated by Counselling Services faculty in January 2016.
  • Session #2, “Student Mental Health: Academic Accommodations” was delivered in February 2016. The discussion was hosted and facilitated by Counselling Services and Student Support Specialists from NorQuest Disability Services.
  • Session #3, “Student Mental Health: Using Traumatic Material in Class” was delivered in April 2016. The discussion was hosted by Counselling Services and facilitated alongside instructors from the Faculty of Foundational, Career, and Intercultural Studies.On the basis of its success, our intention is to continue the Series next academic year.Contact Information:

    Renee Trudeau
    Manager, Wellness and Accessibility Student Services | NorQuest College T 780.644.6158

Download document

Counsellor in Residence

Residence at the University of Calgary houses over 2500 students. Every year, we have students move into residence excited to start or to continue their academic career, but every year students struggle. It has become clear that many students come to university without the ability to cope with the stresses of academic life, and they experience a range of mental health concerns and/or engage in mentally unhealthy behaviour.

Residence houses a population at risk. Students enroll at the prime age for developing mental illnesses or experiencing symptoms of mental illness, as it’s been identified that 75% of lifetime cases of mental illness have their onset before age 24 (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2005/mental illness-exacts-heavy-toll-beginning-in-youth.shtml) , and at an age when suicide has been identified as the second leading cause of death between those age 15-34 (according to Statistics Canada; http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2012001/article/11696-eng.htm). Above all, students in residence are often away from their primary support network, under high levels of stress (academic, financial, social), and adapting to a new and different environment.

Taking into account the aforementioned factors, mental health is a priority not only on our campus, but also in our residence halls. The Counsellor in Residence (CIR) program aims to support students and fight the stigma around mental health and mental illness, as well as offer support to students that struggle to share how they are feeling and to students that don’t know how to support friends in need.

The CIR project has a proactive approach to mental health that, through activities, workshops, and passive programing, aims to increase students’ knowledge around how to maintain and better support their own mental health. In addition, it offers counselling inside residence halls to support students in need, build coping mechanisms, and create a supportive atmosphere among our residents.

Through offering support inside residence, the program seeks to encourage students that are hesitant of using services on campus due to stigma or concerns over convenience. The CIR also increases the visibility of the support available for students by having counselling services more present in the residence buildings and bridging programs offered in residence to those available on campus.

The need for counselling services is increasing, and campuses are struggling with the demand. The CIR program helps to lessen the burden of counselling services on campus by providing students with information that would allow them to take care of their own mental health and have good coping skills before they experience severe symptoms of poor mental health. The Wellness Centre at the University of Calgary currently aims to educate students about mental health and wellness through their programs, and the CIR program allows for such programming to happen in these students’ homes.

A focus of this program is meeting students where they are at, in residence, and making wellness education and counselling convenient and readily available.

Contact:

Ana Miranda, Residence Life Coordinator University of Calgary. Email to [email protected]

Sheldon Hill, Residence Life Coordinator University of Calgary. Email to [email protected]

Ana Miranda

Residence Life Coordinator, Yamnuska Hall

P: 403.220.5074

E: [email protected]

www.ucalgary.ca/residence | UCalgaryRes |  UCalgaryRes

Download document

Thrive Priority Support Network

Name of mental Health Initiative

Thrive Priority Support Network

Brief description of the mental health initiative and its focus

The Thrive Priority Support Network helps identify students who are having academic difficulty early and connect them with the right resources at the right time to manage their personal and academic challenges. Thrive looks for signs of struggle through a combination of confidential concerns submitted by professors and abnormal drops in grades. Struggling students may be invited in for an optional, confidential meeting with a Student Success Centre advisor, who provides strategies, resources, and referrals to help the student manage whatever is causing them difficulty.

Contact Information:

https://www.ucalgary.ca/ssc/faculty/thrive

      Main contact: Julie Stewart (Thrive coordinator)

          TFDL 360D

          403.210.7471

          [email protected]

Download document