As communities across the country celebrate #MentalHealthWeek, we are recognizing the innovative ways Ontario’s universities continue to provide mental health and wellness services to students during COVID-19.
From increasing virtual resources and services to developing mental health and wellness strategies through research, Ontario’s universities are partnering for the mental health and well-being of our students and the province’s communities throughout this challenging time.
Below is a list of some of the many initiatives taking place at universities across Ontario.
Virtual resources and services for students
Demand for wellness and mental health supports within the Brock University community has continued to increase due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to enhance its offerings, Brock’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre (SWAC) is introducing a Mental Health and Well-being Speaker Series.
For more information, visit Brock University.
To help community members explore the theory and practice related to mental health and well-being, Carleton University is offering virtual science-based Spring seminars that focus on hands-on learning opportunities for adults of all ages, regardless of educational background, on topics related to wellness.
For more information, visit Carleton University.
University of Guelph
At the University of Guelph, students can find practical resources to assist them with mental health and well-being, including information about virtual peer support groups, workshops, mindfulness seminars and counselling services, through the Mental Health and Wellness Resource Guide.
For more information, visit the University of Guelph.
To help support students during this challenging time, Laurentian University is offering a number of resources for taking care of your mental health, including tips on how to manage stress and anxiety, how to prevent loneliness in a time of social distancing and how to stay emotionally healthy during a pandemic.
For more information, visit Laurentian University.
Recognizing the increased challenges and stressors that many students are facing this year, McMaster University developed Take Care Mac, a mental health resources booklet filled with valuable insights, anecdotes, reflections and resources for new and returning students.
For more information, visit McMaster University.
To help student achieve positive mental and emotional wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nipissing University is offering secure video therapy sessions to students and community members.
To learn more, visit Nipissing University.
Helping students develop tactics to effectively practice mindfulness, distress tolerance and emotional regulation is the goal of a 4-week Dialectical Behavior Therapy Virtual Workshop, hosted by OCAD University.
To learn more, visit OCAD University.
Ontario Tech University
In order to reduce wait times, improve access to resources, and create a more collaborative approach to student mental health support, Ontario Tech University’s Mental Health Services has adopted a Stepped Care approach to service.
To learn more, visit Ontario Tech University.
To help provide students with the level of care they need when they need it, Queen’s University increased their virtual mental health and wellness resources and services, including one-on-one appointments with mental health professionals, training sessions and an online self-directed tool called Therapy Assistance Online (TAO).
To learn more, visit Queen’s University.
In order to engage in conversation about health and wellness with students, teach coping strategies and highlight the different mental health resources available, Trent University is hosting an interactive Zoom session on May 4th that’s available to all students.
To learn more, visit Trent University.
University of Toronto
To make it easier for students to find mental health services and resources on all three campuses, as well as those of partner organizations in the community, the University of Toronto launched a new online portal makes tools, strategies and mental health experts more accessible.
To learn more, visit the University of Toronto.
University of Waterloo
In order to help inform students, staff, and faculty how to ‘Recognize, Respond, and Refer’ individuals experiencing mental health problems on campus and within the local community, the University of Waterloo is hosting ‘More Feet on the Ground’, a virtual series of facilitated discussions using online materials and resources.
To learn more, visit the University of Waterloo.
Developing mental health and wellness strategies through research
As the pandemic continues to take a toll on the mental health of frontline and essential workers, researchers at Ryerson University have pivoted their studies to help develop tools to help those most vulnerable to mental health struggles.
To learn more, visit Ryerson University.
A Western University researcher is using machine learning methods to develop a social media search tool that can assist public health units address mental health and addiction problems within the local community.
To learn more, visit Western University.
Wilfrid Laurier University
As communities across Ontario implement social distancing measures, researchers at Wilfrid Laurier University are studying the mental health of workers. Their work aims to determine the impact on family relationships and overall well–being in order to help inform policies that can mitigate these effects.
To learn more, visit Wilfrid Laurier University.
In order to help address the knowledge gap in supporting autistic adults, York University researchers have partnered with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to launch a first-of-its kind mental health literacy guide.
To learn more, visit York University.
Helping build and maintain social connections for students and communities
Algoma University is offering online supports and activities to ensure students stay socially connected, while physically distant. Activities range from home workouts, organized by the university’s fitness centre, to an active YouTube channel, which includes a message to students entering exams, and a collaborative Spotify playlist.
For more information, visit Algoma University.
At Lakehead University, students can connect with university peers all over the world and have free access to instant, ongoing peer support thanks to a new partnership with an innovative mental health solution, TalkCampus.
For more information, visit Lakehead University.
University of Ottawa
As students continue to transition and adapt to online learning environments, the University of Ottawa is offering a variety of virtual activities to help students stay connected and support their mental health and well-being, including virtual workouts, Zumba classes, pet therapy sessions, trivia nights and virtual escape rooms.
To learn more, visit the University of Ottawa.
University of Windsor
As the weather gets warmer, the University of Windsor is encouraging faculty and staff to venture outdoors and take photos in nature through their Spring Shutter Bug Photo Contest, helping to clear their minds, get some exercise and improve their mental health.
To learn more, visit the University of Windsor.