From 211 to Mental Health Promising Practices: Updates on the GoA Provincial Projects

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Kevin Friese from the University of Alberta, Jeannie Gorrie from the University of Calgary and Chelsea Bodoe from Mount Royal University joined Healthy Campus Alberta to present three initiatives focused on post-secondary mental health from a provincial perspective.  

Tools for Success: Models for Exemplary Mental Health Initiatives at Alberta PSIs

To support Advanced Education’s Next Steps to Improve Post-secondary Student Mental Health, Mount Royal University is creating a toolkit showcasing exemplary mental health promising practices from across Alberta, from varying institutions. The toolkit is meant to be a document which PSI’s may refer to, to help facilitate planning, implementation, and knowledge sharing. In the early stages of developing mental health strategies, a common challenge for institutions is navigating the complex array of evidence-informed initiatives, and developing a strategy that is appropriate for the specific context, including the resources and capacity of their campus community. Through the sharing of practices, policies, frameworks, and programs, institutions will have the opportunity to explore and adopt similar effective mental health initiatives.

Mount Royal University is committed to collaborating with HCA, to facilitate communication, and information dissemination around this project. Specifically HCA will liaise with project leader Chelsea Bodoe.

Meet the Provincial Mental Health Toolkit Project Leader, Chelsea Bodoe! 

Chelsea comes from Ontario. She recently completed a Master in Public Health from the University of Saskatchewan, during which time she was dedicated to effecting change in the areas of health promotion and mental health. She has an array of experience conducting provincial scans, evaluations and quality improvement initiatives at a post-secondary and clinical level. Most recently she helped define institutional best practices in primary care settings in Saskatchewan.

By this time, Chelsea has already reached out to twenty-six PSIs via email, encouraging participation in this project. There are now 2 weeks remaining for institutions to submit any mental health promising practices to Chelsea for consideration for the final toolkit. Submissions will be accepted until October 15th, 2019. Feel free to reach out to her with any questions at [email protected]

Provincial Mental Health Training Project

As a part of Advanced Education’s next steps to Improving Post-Secondary Mental Health with a provincial perspective, the University of Calgary will be developing a provincial mental health training plan for post-secondary institutions. This project aims to develop a systematic post-secondary approach to mental health training and then to offer a suite of programs, utilizing community partners, in an accessible, cost-effective manner. Recognizing PSI’s across the province are at different starting points when it comes to the quantity of mental health supports provided, a basic suite of adaptable mental health training will be identified to ensure the specific needs of target populations at individual institutions are met. 

As a provincial community of practice around post-secondary mental health, HCA will be working closely with the University of Calgary to support this project. As such, we would like to introduce you to the Provincial Mental Health Training Coordinator.

Meet the new Provincial Mental Health Training Coordinator, Jeannie Gorrie!

Jeannie comes from the Alberta University of the Arts Students’ Association where she oversaw the implementation and evaluation of mental health programming for close to 5 years.

Through her genuine passion for the promotion of inclusive and innovative approaches to mental health programming, Jeannie has been, and continues to be an active advocate for increased mental health supports within the post-secondary context. With this experience, Jeannie brings an array of knowledge and perspective to the Provincial Mental Health Training project. 

As the first steps of the project, Jeannie will be reaching out to each institution. Feel free to contact her at [email protected] if you have any questions.


Enhanced Campus 211 Mental Health Service

In October 2016, the Minister of Alberta Advanced Education struck the Advisory Panel on Post-Secondary Institution (PSI) Mental Health, which was comprised of stakeholders from across the spectrum of post-secondary mental health care, including students, campus service providers, community service representatives and Alberta Health Services. Among the panel recommendations being acted on by the government is recommendation #8, which seeks to leverage and expand existing community services and information infrastructures.

Advanced Education and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) have partnered to improve 24/7 post-secondary student mental health support via 211. The University of Alberta (U of A) has joined the partnership to pilot this enhanced 211 service, evaluate the model, and assist in the deployment of the enhanced 211 service to post-secondary institutions across the province. While the program evaluation is administered this fall, the U of A and CMHA Edmonton will begin reaching out to Alberta post-secondary institutions to develop a provincial implementation plan for sites. Other facets of the project include the development of campus promotional/communication toolkit and possible development of website search functions that integrate 211 database searches into existing post-secondary web searches for seamless presentation of campus and greater community mental health supports.

For more information on this project, please contact Kevin Friese, Assistant Dean of Students Health & Wellness, at the University of Alberta (p:780.492.0769, e: [email protected]).

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