The Stress on Mentally Healthy Campuses

Fatima Dhooma is the current Chair of ASEC's Mental Health Committee, and Vice President of Student Affairs at Keyano College. 


Insights from other mental health committee members: 

"Having the opportunity to be on this committee through ASEC gives the unique perspective of many hands doing similar work; it is easier to approach an issue as important as mental health when it is being done as a united front, province wide."

Maryanne McGrath (Students' Association of Red Deer College)


"Students need to be healthy mentally and physically to fulfill their roles as a student, a family member and a member of the society. Therefore, it is extremely important to maintain the balance between stress and relaxation. The mental health committee keeps us more innovative, encourages us to always move forward and learn from each other. We believe in ASEC's one voice, one vote, we believe all students across Alberta deserve to have the equal mental health support and that's a part of ASEC's main vision and mission."

Thao Nguyen-Bettle (SAIT Students' Association)


"The overall wellness of the students we represent has always been a top priority to the Student Association at GPRC, and mental health has become a new avenue that is more acceptable to explore. We all strongly feel the growing needs and concerns of a students’ mental fitness should be treated equally important to any other aspect in their overall health. The Committee through ASEC provides us with an outlet and networking to ensure a strong collaboration between like-minded student leaders to help ensure the mental wellbeing of our students and a happier student life"

Mike Moman (Students' Association of Grand Prairie College)

Stressing the importance of addressing the reality of mental health on post-secondary campuses in Alberta

"I'm stressed!" It seems to be the most commonly repeated sentence that escapes the lips of many college students today. This crises resonates with me because my personal and professional focus is on promoting health consciousness. One of the things that I have come to appreciate over time is the importance of mental well-being. I have come to realize that this is fundamental to the overall well-being of an individual above and beyond other considerations. A healthy mind is a healthy body which in turn fosters a healthy society. This is not merely a trite observation but, I believe, a fundamental truth. Nowhere is the need to foster, empower and facilitate mental wellbeing more critical than on post-secondary campuses and, in particular, in the life of students.

The reasons are many and profound: estrangement from home comfort, academic stress, social adjustment, search for an identity, the attempt to secure a productive future, and added to this anxious mix, the sheer need to survive on a daily basis! It is not an exaggeration to state that post-secondary students are among the most stressed members of society. Their plight is often ignored or what they are experiencing is dismissed as “a necessary and character building moment in life."

'It is not an exaggeration to state that post-secondary students are among the most stressed members of society.'

Yet, we know the toll that this can take on post-secondary students: a decline in their achievement and most importantly, a decline in their quality of life. Post-secondary education for a lot of students can be one of the most stressful experiences of their schooling period. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addictions or that popular culprit, stress. These other mental health related issues are increasingly finding their way into the lives of students across the nation.

Arguably, the reality of mental health is emerging as the most important factor of student life and experience. Health concerns have gained great traction over the last couple of years and the topic of mental health in particular has been one of the subtopics that has been raised consistently. Mental health issues are present on all post secondary campuses across the province. Mental Health does not discriminate towards its victims. Polytechnic institutions such as NAIT and SAIT view it as an issue, students from King's and Concordia University view it as an issue, and students from community colleges in diverse communities like Fort McMurray, Red Deer and Grand Prairie College all view it as an issue. It is not far-fetched to say that the issue of mental health today is the most critical and relevant issue that students face on campus.

In light of this crises of mental health on campuses across the province, student leaders from across Alberta have banded together --under the umbrella of ASEC (Alberta Students' Executive Council) -- to come up with ways to discuss appropriate and efficient methods to address the reality of mental health and the issues related to students' everyday life. 

Attending Keyano College in the northern part of our province for the last two years has led me to reserve my stance on the reality of mental health on post-secondary campuses across Alberta. However, after meeting with members from ASEC , I learned very quickly that there is indeed a very unified stance on the need to address mental health concerns on Alberta campuses across the board. The committee members and I meet regularly to develop, improve, implement, and sustain the mental health initiatives in Alberta in effort to shine light on the issue as well as to fight against the stigma attached to mental health issues to ultimately enhance the overall student experience.

'The committee acts as a collective to collaborate, engage and exchange ideas revolving around mental health and general student welfare on our campuses. Each of our schools are different and the issue of mental health manifests itself in unique ways.'

ASEC as an organization lobbied for ACMHI, a grant that supports student-led mental health initiatives and has greatly impacted students from across the province for the last two years, and for this final year.

This year the mental health committee, which is composed of many passionate and dedicated souls, is working towards setting the foundation for mental health initiatives. We are focused on working towards establishing a successful and effective community of practice in order to promote and advocate for campus wellness in the province. In addition, we have planned to establish our role within ASEC as both an advisory group and community of mental health advocates. We are currently putting together a mission statement and arranging to create an advisory document to both ASEC, in our role as an advocacy organization, as well as post-secondary campuses to solidify our direction in the future. We trust that this document will serve as a reliable piece of information to advise ASEC and its members about the problems related to committee structure, campuses initiatives, as well as common roadblocks on campuses. We also hope to offer fresh, new ideas to propel the committee forward in this endeavor. 

The committee is fixed on setting annual goals to ensure efficiency and to work towards becoming a community of practice. This year, the committee is working alongside ASEC's team to organize a provincial Wellness Summit in the new year for students, members of the public, as well as government officials to learn and interact under the umbrella of establishing campuses focused on health and wellness across the province. 

This year looks very promising for our committee as we take the next critical steps to fight stigma around mental health, educate students and members of the public on this issue as well as create flourishing campuses to honor the reality of mental health across the beautiful province of Alberta.

Part of being an organization that represents students is ensuring that the needs of our students is taken into consideration. Continuing to fight stigma and provide comprehensive opportunities for mental health awareness, including campaigns, preventative knowledge, and intervention training are vital to ensuring safer, healthier schools all across Alberta.

An update: 2015-16 funding decisions have been made!

The Approval Panel has finished deliberating, and as of this morning, response letters have been sent out to the 13 SAs that applied for ACMHI funding in the 2015-16 term.  We thank all SAs for the thought and effort put into all applications!

If your application was not approved this time around, don't worry! There will be a second round of application submission, due on September 15, 2015. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the ACMHI Project Manager at 780-756-4500. You can also follow us on Facebook  and Twitter to receive the most up-to-date information. 

2015-16 applications are now in!

ACMHI Year 3 has officially begun! 13 students' associations submitted applications for funding. All applications have now been forwarded to the approval panel (if you're wondering who the approval panel consists of, find out here). Those who submitted an application will hear from the panel and ACMHI Project Manager within two weeks. 

If you're just finding out about ACMHI (maybe you should take a look at our FAQs here), missed the application deadline, or are denied funding this time around, don't worry! There will be a second round of application submission in the fall, so please stay tuned. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive the most up-to-date information.

In the meantime, good luck to all students' associations who've applied for ACMHI funding for the 2015-16 year! 

ACMHI: End of Year 2 Update

Recent surveys launched by both the ACMH-NCHA (2013) and ACMHI (2014, 1,482 responses from 14 students’ associations) provide some insight into the needs of Alberta’s post-secondary students, regarding their overall mental and physical well-being. In the past year:

  • About 70% of students faced significant stress frequently.
  • Almost 60% of students were overwhelmed with their workload.
  • More than 50% of students felt things were hopeless.
  • 3 in 10 students felt too depressed to function.

Despite the fact that many students require some form of mental health support, almost 60% of students rarely receive help with mental health when they need it, while 32% of students admit they have unhealthy methods of coping with stress. Even if students prioritized mental health as an immediate concern and sought help, more than 40% of students are unaware or unsure of how to access mental health services on their own campus! This, coupled with the lengthy wait-times associated with mental health services currently available on campuses, contributes to the evident decline in post-secondary student mental health in Alberta.

For the past two years and for this upcoming year, ACMHI continues to play an active role in supporting students' ability to address the mental health challenges on their campus. So far, over $900,000 has been awarded to 14 students’ associations to tackle mental health issues using innovative approaches. Each students’ association hosts mental health initiatives specific to the needs identified as a priority on their campus. In recent years, students held awareness and stigma reduction campaigns; hosted stress reduction events and workshops promoting mental, physical and financial wellness; and provided a variety of supplemental services to baseline mental health services already available on campus (see Tables 1 and 2 for a summary of ACMHI initiatives and outcomes). More specifically, 9 students’ associations were able to implement peer support initiatives (i.e. train student volunteers as peer counsellors) -- a significant improvement from ACMHI’s first year and a key way to tackle the problems that stem from lengthy wait-times when seeking professional help.

Table 1: A summary of ACMHI initiatives undertaken by 14 students' associations across Alberta.

Table 1: A summary of ACMHI initiatives undertaken by 14 students' associations across Alberta.

Table 2: A summary of ACMHI outcomes.

Table 2: A summary of ACMHI outcomes.

Nearly 140,000 students were reached through these student-led mental health initiatives. An outpouring of support has come not only from students but from campus leaders and community members: over 250 community and campus connections have been established, with approximately 200 mental health supporters. Furthermore, 9 students’ associations created mental health committees to oversee and maintain these initiatives, and ensure that post-secondary mental health remains a priority on their campus. The community and campus partnerships, as well as the creation of mental health committees, provides a more sustainable foundation for future mental health initiatives undertaken by students’ associations.

So, how are actual post-secondary students responding to the mental health initiatives carried out by their respective students’ associations? More than 60% of students have now seen, or are now aware of, mental health related events on campus. This is more than a third of Alberta post-secondary students aware of ACMHI initiatives last year! Furthermore, nearly 40% of the students that participated in or accessed these services found them to be very helpful. We leave you with some of the direct student feedback received:

  •  “Getting involved in peer counselling was a defiant stepping stone towards my career. My overall experience was terrific and I would recommend it for anyone. The knowledge gained from this program is life-long and helps with all aspects of our daily lives as well as professional life. Thank you for the unforgettable experience and to everyone that invested their efforts and power towards helping us become better people and better helpers.” – Peer Counsellor, on SAGPRC’s Peer Counselling Program
  • “I wanted to talk to someone because I was overwhelmed with my finance issues and stress from school, work and my family. After I talked to the Peer Counsellor, I decided that I would go and exercise that day and eat healthier, and make more time for myself without feeling it was selfish. I was thankful for the person helping me and was very relieved.” – Student, on SAGPRC’s Peer Counselling Program
  • “I believe it gave me the tools to combat stress at home, and how to use it against anxiety.” – Student, on mental health tips included in SANQC’s online magazine
  • “You seriously need to implement this more than once a month… Please double the frequency of this program.” – Student, on NAITSA’s Wellness Week
  • "Love having this every month. It's definitely a great thing to have, it makes stress and tension in my life a lot better." - Student, on NAITSA’s Wellness Week  
  • "It helps me to reduce negative thoughts. I hope this event can be held every week." - Student, on SAITSA’s meetUP Support Group Event
  • "Having these programs at school is such a good idea. Being able to talk about and discuss important health issues while at school is important because it's difficult to find time for it outside of school. It's a great way to take a break from the day!"  – Student, on ACADSA’s Lunch ‘n’ Learns
  • "It definitely gives the feeling of integration. I get at least a small sense of security knowing that I'm not the only one with these problems." – Student, on ACADSA’s Stress Management Seminars

Here’s to continued success in our third year! Remember, ACMHI applications for the 2015-16 year are due in a week: July 15th, 2015!

ACMHI FAQs

Get answers to frequently asked questions about the Alberta Campus Mental Health Innovation fund!

1. What is the Alberta Campus Mental Health Innovation Fund (ACMHI)?

The Alberta Campus Mental Health Innovation Fund (ACMHI) is a grant that supports new, system-leading strategies for the delivery of mental health supports at Alberta’s post-secondary institutions.

Successful proposals will have to demonstrate innovation, facilitate partnerships, and address current service gaps in mental health service provisions. Examples of possible projects include, but are NOT limited to:

     Hiring new front-line support positions such as psychologists, counselors, mental health nurses, and other direct practitioners;

     Anti-stigma and preventative mental wellness campaigns;

     Workshops for students at post-secondary to enhance coping and stress management;

     Digital supports, such as mental wellness or stress management apps, or 1-800 hotlines;

     Mental health and wellness training initiatives for professors, students, and other university employees who are in direct contact with the student population; and,

     Aboriginal counselors, international student support staff, disability support staff, LGBTQ student supports, and other support workers who may not be classified as mental health workers but who often provide mental health services.

 Applicants are encouraged to be creative and innovative in their approach to developing project proposals.

2. Who qualifies for funding?

Students’ associations at Alberta colleges, technical institutions, and baccalaureate and distance universities who are members of the Alberta Students’ Executive Council (ASEC).

Can I receive funding if the project is NOT through a student association?

No. However, partnerships with students’ associations are encouraged. Partnerships can emerge between students’ associations and post-secondary institutions, community organizations, and other students’ associations.

 3. What are the eligibility requirements?

     Organizations applying for funding through ACMHI must be, or be partnered with, a students’ association who is an ASEC member. This includes partnerships with post-secondary institutions, community organizations, and multiple students’ associations.

     Funding will only be provided to new initiatives and projects. Proposals to support existing on-campus services will be considered ineligible.

     Eligible projects must request support not less than $1000 and not more than $50,000.

     ACMHI may consider multiple applications from the same applicant, provided the total applications fall within the funding parameters stated above.

     Successful projects may be up to one year in duration, based on a fiscal year of September 1 – August 31. Monies awarded in summer 2015 call for applications, for example, must be used between September 1, 2015 and August 31, 2016.

4. How much is the maximum distribution amount?

Depending on the scope and need of the project, ACMHI will distribute up to $50,000, with a minimum of $1000.

5. Can more than one application be submitted by a students’ association?

Yes, provided the projects are not a duplication of services already offered on campus, fall within the funding ceiling and are not used to fund services that were recently cut.

6. How long do projects run?

Each project funded by ACMHI is a one-time distributed grant. Projects are expected to be implemented within one year, based on a September-August cycle.

 7. Can a project receive on-going funding over three years?

 No. However, projects can re-apply for funding in subsequent years, allowing for continued financial support. Each application will undergo review by the adjudication panel each year. Applicants will be required to demonstrate effectiveness of the previous year’s project.

 8. How do I apply?

1      Once ASEC conducts a call for applications, you can complete and submit the application form sent to ASEC members.

2      Read through the information and application to ensure you meet all the eligibility requirements and have all needed information.

3      Complete the application form.

4      Ensure application form has all required signatures.

5      Submit applications through email, mail, or drop off your application at the ASEC home office prior to the designated deadlines. ASEC is open Monday through Friday (8:30-4:30pm) and is located at:

Alberta Students’ Executive Council

#35, 9912-106 Street NW

Edmonton, AB T5J 1C4

 

9. Who reviews the applications?

All applications will be reviewed by the ASEC Executive Director and the ACMHI Project Manager to confirm that it is complete and contains all required sections. Applications will then be forwarded to an approval panel of mental health and post-secondary experts.

10. Who does the approval panel consist of?

The approval panel is an independent and external panel of reviewers who convene to review applications and select successful applicants. ASEC staff and members will not be part of the adjudication process. For more information on current approval panel members, visit this page.

11. When will successful applicants be contacted?

Decisions will be communicated approximately four to six weeks following the application deadline.

12. For successful applicants, will there be ongoing contact with ASEC ACMHI throughout the year?

 Yes, the ACMHI Project Manager will be in contact with each initiative and Project Leader to maintain contact with each initiative’s progress.

13. Upon project completion, what are the expectations?

 When the year of funding comes to a close, the on-campus Project Leader is expected to submit a closing report to the ACMHI Project Manager. The closing report will provide a brief overview of the project and the outcomes, with more details provided on project-by-project basis. Project Leaders can expect to provide documentation such as photos, videos, statistics and other evidence of the impact their project has had on their campus.

14. How do we track project measurables?

 Each project is unique and will have varying ways to track its progress and complete measurables. For example, if a campaign is funded to promote mental wellness, the amount of brochures printed and handed out can be a measure of student reach and success. The ACMHI Project Manager will work closely with all funded projects throughout the year to effectively track measurables.

15. When is the application deadline?

 The application deadline for the 2015-16 year is July 15th, 2015.

16. What if I have other questions regarding my proposal?

You may contact Jessica Turowski, Project Manager at jessica@albertastudents.ca, Aala Abdullahi, ACMHI Project Assistant at aala@albertastudents.ca, or Teresa Currie, Executive Director at ed@albertastudents.ca. You can also phone the home office at 780-756-4500, Monday through Friday (8:30-4:30pm).

 

ACMHI Year 2: Fall Update

The Alberta Students’ Executive Council (ASEC) successfully launched the 2014-2015 year of the Alberta Campus Mental Health Innovation fund (ACMHI), with over $480,000 released across the province to 14 Students’ Associations. Students are taking ownership of mental health on campus to actively improve their students’ mental health by hosting campus stigma reduction campaigns, and stress reductions events, among a series of new services and training opportunities. In 2013, ACMHI initiatives reached over 60,000 students with support from institutions and community stakeholders. So far this year approximately 58,000 students have been reached, with anticipation that many more will be reached this winter semester.

 TABLE 1: SUMMARY OF OUTCOMES 

 TABLE 1: SUMMARY OF OUTCOMES 

Over the first semester students have benefited from new peer support services, and stress reduction campaigns targeted during difficult exam times. Each Students’ Association (SA) commenced mental health initiatives with specialized approaches to the needs of their students and campus, where Students’ Association now offer unique initiatives, for example:

Table 2: Summary of SA activities

Table 2: Summary of SA activities

  • Relaxation oxygen bar
  • Tea sharing corners
  • Mobile couches
  • Creative Wall Spaces for student art
  • Mental Health Gaming
  • Ball-pits
  • Peer supports
  • Bathroom Emergency Information

To better understand the needs students are facing today, ACMHI launch a survey that received 1617 student responses from 12 post-secondary institutions across the province.  According to our survey results, 63% of students are facing significant stress frequently and 58% of students are overwhelmed with what they have to do. While only 39% of students are finding ways to cope with their struggles. According to data collected from the beginning of semester, 39% of student were aware of mental health services on their campus, and few (34%) were aware of available community services.

Tables 1, above, summarizes the current reach and number of events that have been hosted from September to December. while Table 2 provides a summary of this years SA activities.

Mental Health in the Workplace: A message from RedLine Interactive!

Make Mental Health In The Workplace A Mandatory Requirement!

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Dec. 15, 2014) - On June 15, 2012, tragedy struck G4S. While performing a routine cash transfer at the University of Alberta's HUB Mall, Travis Baumgartner fatally shot three of his coworkers and critically wounded another. The ripple effect of the shooting had devastating impacts on the mental health of those involved, as well as their families, friends and colleagues.

Our initiative aims to bring together public figures, policy makers and politicians to tackle this issue and create a solution; ultimately, our goal is that mental health support becomes mandatory in every workplace.

"Lets have a requirement that, no matter where you work, you are required - every employer in this country is required - to have a mental health awareness program."

- Wayne Garner Vice President, Teamsters Local 362

We've produced a webseries with Redline Interactive Ltd. that chronicles this journey. View the trailer here and share it with your audience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxO9GR0Hu7o

Share this link to our Action Engine and help bring about change.http://www.teamsters362.com/mental-health/

Stigma, Stigma, Stigma.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada initiated Opening Minds to to help summarize the Commission's activities to date, comment on lessons learned, and identify future work and challenges. Stigma is the major focus of Opening Minds, since stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help. Many describe stigma as more life-limiting and disabling than the illness itself.

In the Opening Minds Interim Report (2013), the Commission discuss stigma and the three levels of stigma, outlined below.

As each students' association works toward improving mental health outcomes, and stigma ia as major barrier, I thought I would share this with all of you. Being aware of the levels of stigma may positively influence your project implementation.

Consider speaking of stigma and addressing all three levels on campus through your initiatives. Read the summary below and if you would like access the entire report follow the link below.

Stigma is enacted at three levels: self-stigma; public stigma; and structural stigma

Self-stigma occurs when people with a mental illness accept and agree with negative cultural stereotypes. They feel ashamed, blameworthy, and try to conceal their illness from others. This may include avoiding situations that may elicit stigmatizing responses. Stigma avoidance is thought to be one of the key reasons why the majority of people who meet the criteria for a mental illness do not seek care.

Public stigma encompasses the prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behaviours expressed toward people with a mental illness by members of the public. Public stigma is based on deeply held prejudices that are, by definition, resistant to change. Cultural attributions that fuel public stigma include the ideas that people with a mental illness can never recover; they are violent and unpredictable; they are blameworthy and could control their illness.

Structural stigma occurs at the level of institutions, policies, and laws. It creates situations in which people with a mental illness are treated inequitably and unfairly, for example when they are denied their basic human rights, or when policy agendas do not give mental health issues high priority

The full report is available at: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/system/files/private/document/opening_minds_interim_report.pdf

 

All the best!

Jessica


Check out film competition entries!

Tiny Shifts - Film Competition

The Healthy Minds Network held a national film competition for college students this fall. They invited students from across the country to create engaging short films (<2 minutes) that promote mental and emotional well-being. I encourage you to check out the videos HERE or follow the links below. Feel free to 'like' and share your favorite videos!

See this post for all of the Tinyshifts Film Competition Entries:

"Choose One Thing": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UklwhpumReI&feature=youtu.be

"A Life Worth of Questions": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_dmgw9Vg4M

"Change the Conversation": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3DR5qf76tU&list=UUVhTsoiCJEX9Wo0XpDmaCIw

"Masks": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOi8yrDonLQ
"The Power of Six": ht...tps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2oTwtAj_Tk&feature=youtu.be

"Girls": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XSKbF-GMK4&feature=youtu.be

"Reflection": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZNSEL0Sf74&feature=youtu.be

"Tinyshifts TCU": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHggegDG7co&feature=youtu.be

 

All the best,

Jessica

ACMHI Update: The King's University

ACMHI 2014-2015 Projects are off to a quick start this year. With $500,000 being distributed to Students' Associations, unique approaches are being implements across Alberta at 14 post-secondary institutions.

The King's University has provided an update on their efforts so far!

This is the first year the King's University has received the mental health funding and thus, we are experimenting to see what kind of events draw the students. Mental health forums took place during the first two Mondays of September. The first forum featured a psychiatry student from the U of A who discussed what stress was, causes of stress, and healthy/unhealthy coping mechanisms. The second forum featured a counsellor and chaplain who discussed healthy living, how to determine stress levels, and maintaining balance. A midterms de-stress event was held on October 21st, which involved colouring pages and fresh fruit and vegetables. Another midterms de-stress event will be taking place on November 7th.

Thanks Kings, and best of luck for the upcoming year!

Check out the Kings' Students' Association Website here: http://www.kingssa.ca/


MHCC Suicide Prevention Webinar Series

Connecting Canada while Supporting Individuals’ Emotional and Mental Health   The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) invites you to attend Connecting Canada while Supporting Individuals’ Emotional and Mental Health, the seventh in a free webinar series on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.   This prerecorded webinar is taking place at a special time and date — September 10 at 2:00 p.m. ET — in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD). The national theme for WSPD is “Connecting Canada”. More details about WSPD activities happening in your community can be found here.   Register here.   What: MHCC Suicide Prevention Webinar Series: Webinar #7   When: Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. ET, World Suicide Prevention Day   Title: Connecting Canada while Supporting Individuals’ Emotional and Mental Health   Speaker(s): Elizabeth (Liz) Fisk, Executive Director, Distress Centres of Ontario; Executive Team – Canadian Distress Line Centre; Representatives from other Canadian Distress Line Centres (TBD).   According to the Canadian Community Health Survey (2012), 10 per cent of Canadians have reported mental health problems or substance dependence in the last 12 months. However, individuals who accessed distress line services (e.g., 1-800 crisis lines), had a significantly higher number of discussions about mental health problems and mental illnesses than the national average, with calls of this nature reflecting 20 per cent of all topics of conversation.*   Distress lines also provide psycho-social support to individuals through compassionate call-takers who respond to everything from distress to a need for emotional support, and from crisis intervention to active interventions of suicides in progress.   However, significant gaps exist in this service provision across the country, and the quality of response is not always consistent.   The Canadian Distress Line Network (CDLN) is dedicated to strengthening organizations across Canada through a connected network and a national suicide prevention line that all Canadians can reach 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The CDLN focuses on a community-development model rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Knowledge of, and integration with, local mental health and social service networks is important to a caller-centred support model.    The intended audience for this webinar are service providers, policy makers, people with lived experience of mental health problems and mental illnesses, family members, and clinicians. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in conversation with the panelists following the presentation.   *Distress Centres Ontario 2013 Annual Report   More information: The Mental Health Commission of Canada recognizes the importance of talking and working together to reduce the number of deaths by suicide in Canada. In an effort to share knowledge, resources, and lessons learned, the Commission invites you to participate in its webinar series, focused on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.   Normally suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention webinars take place at 1:00 p.m. ET, on the second Tuesday of each month. Webinars are hosted by people with lived experience, researchers, and service providers: experts who are dedicated to saving lives and preventing deaths by suicide. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in conversation with the presenter or share their thoughts through Collaborative Spaces. The MHCC is always looking for new speakers. If you would like to suggest a speaker, please email, suicideprevention@mentalhealthcommission.ca.   For more information, please visit the MHCC website or join the conversation on social media: #MHspaces and #suicideprevention   Suicide prevention is possible. Learn more by registering for this webinar.      Connecting Canada while Supporting Individuals’ Emotional and Mental Health Le Canada reste en contact pour soutenir la santé mentale et émotionnelle de chacun   La Commission de la santé mentale du Canada vous invite à participer au webinaire Connecting Canada while Supporting Individuals’ Emotional and Mental Health (en anglais) (Le Canada reste en contact pour soutenir la santé mentale et émotionnelle de chacun), septième de la série de webinaires gratuits sur la prévention du suicide, les interventions et la postvention.   Le webinaire préenregistré se tiendra à un moment tout à fait particulier — le 10 septembre à 14 h (HE) — à l’occasion de la Journée mondiale de la prévention du suicide. Au pays, cette journée se déroulera sous le thème du « Canada reste en contact ». Vous trouverez ici plus de renseignements sur les activités prévues dans votre collectivité en l’honneur de cette journée.   Pour vous inscrire au webinaire, rendez-vous à https://mhcc-events.webex.com/mhcc-events/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=661194830   Quoi : Webinaire no 7 de la série de webinaires sur la prévention du suicide de la Commission   Quand : Le mercredi 10 septembre 2014 de 14 h à 15 h 15 (HE), Journée mondiale de la prévention du suicide   Titre : Connecting Canada while Supporting Individuals’ Emotional and Mental Health (Le Canada reste en contact pour soutenir la santé mentale et émotionnelle de chacun)   Orateurs : Elizabeth (Liz) Fisk – directrice générale – Distress Centres of Ontario; équipe de direction – Canadian Distress Line Centre; représentants d’autres Distress Line Centres du Canada (à déterminer).   Selon l’Enquête sur la santé dans les collectivités canadiennes de 2012, 10 pour cent des Canadiens étaient aux prises avec un problème de santé mentale ou de toxicomanie dans les 12 mois écoulés. Des personnes qui ont recours aux services d’une ligne d’écoute ou d’aide, celles qui le font pour des problèmes de santé mentale dépassent en proportion cette moyenne nationale; les appels de cette nature représentent 20 pour cent de tous les sujets de conversation.*   Les préposés qui prennent les appels aux lignes d’aide savent écouter avec bienveillance, offrir du soutien psychosocial et intervenir dans diverses situations allant de la détresse à la quête de soutien émotionnel en passant par la situation de crise ou l’intention suicidaire.   Toutefois, tant l’offre que la qualité des services sont inégales au pays.   Le Canadian Distress Line Network entend consolider les services offerts par les organismes au Canada en faisant office de réseau interrelié et en offrant une ligne de prévention du suicide à la grandeur du pays, accessible jour et nuit. Le Réseau préfère la démarche de développement communautaire à la formule uniformisée. La connaissance des services de santé mentale et des services sociaux offerts localement et la collaboration avec ces services sont essentiels au modèle de soutien centré sur l’appelant.    Le webinaire s’adresse aux pourvoyeurs de services, aux responsables des orientations politiques et aux décideurs, aux personnes qui ont affronté la maladie mentale et à leur famille, et aux cliniciens. Les participants pourront discuter avec les panélistes après la présentation.   *Rapport annuel 2013 de Distress Centres Ontario   La Commission de la santé mentale du Canada estime qu’il est important de se parler et d’unir ses efforts en vue de réduire le nombre de suicides au Canada. Dans le but de mettre en commun connaissances, ressources et enseignements, elle vous invite à participer à cette série de webinaires portant sur la prévention du suicide, l’intervention et la postvention.   Habituellement, les webinaires sur la prévention du suicide, les interventions et la postvention sont diffusés à 13 h (HE) le deuxième mardi du mois. Ils sont animés par des personnes au savoir expérientiel, des chercheurs, des pourvoyeurs de services. Ce sont des experts qui s’emploient à sauver des vies et à prévenir le suicide. Les participants auront l’occasion de discuter avec les conférenciers ou de faire part de leurs observations ou idées sur la plateforme de collaboration. La Commission est toujours à la recherche de conférenciers. Pour proposer quelqu’un, communiquez avec nous par courriel à preventionsuicide@commissionsantementale.ca. Pour de plus amples informations, visitez le site Web de la Commission ou participez à la conversation sur les médias sociaux : #PFSantéMentale et #préventionsuicide   Il est possible de prévenir le suicide. Pour en savoir plus, assistez à ce webinaire. 

Connecting Canada while Supporting Individuals’ Emotional and Mental Health
 
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) invites you to attend Connecting Canada while Supporting Individuals’ Emotional and Mental Healththe seventh in a free webinar series on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
 
This prerecorded webinar is taking place at a special time and date — September 10 at 2:00 p.m. ET — in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD). The national theme for WSPD is “Connecting Canada”. More details about WSPD activities happening in your community can be found here.
 
Register here.
 
What: MHCC Suicide Prevention Webinar Series: Webinar #7
 
When: Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. ET, World Suicide Prevention Day
 
Title: Connecting Canada while Supporting Individuals’ Emotional and Mental Health
 
Speaker(s): Elizabeth (Liz) Fisk, Executive Director, Distress Centres of Ontario; Executive Team – Canadian Distress Line Centre; Representatives from other Canadian Distress Line Centres (TBD).
 
According to the Canadian Community Health Survey (2012), 10 per cent of Canadians have reported mental health problems or substance dependence in the last 12 months. However, individuals who accessed distress line services (e.g., 1-800 crisis lines), had a significantly higher number of discussions about mental health problems and mental illnesses than the national average, with calls of this nature reflecting 20 per cent of all topics of conversation.*
 
Distress lines also provide psycho-social support to individuals through compassionate call-takers who respond to everything from distress to a need for emotional support, and from crisis intervention to active interventions of suicides in progress.
 
However, significant gaps exist in this service provision across the country, and the quality of response is not always consistent.
 
The Canadian Distress Line Network (CDLN) is dedicated to strengthening organizations across Canada through a connected network and a national suicide prevention line that all Canadians can reach 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The CDLN focuses on a community-development model rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Knowledge of, and integration with, local mental health and social service networks is important to a caller-centred support model. 
 
The intended audience for this webinar are service providers, policy makers, people with lived experience of mental health problems and mental illnesses, family members, and clinicians. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in conversation with the panelists following the presentation.
 
*Distress Centres Ontario 2013 Annual Report
 
More information:
The Mental Health Commission of Canada recognizes the importance of talking and working together to reduce the number of deaths by suicide in Canada. In an effort to share knowledge, resources, and lessons learned, the Commission invites you to participate in its webinar series, focused on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
 
Normally suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention webinars take place at 1:00 p.m. ET, on the second Tuesday of each month. Webinars are hosted by people with lived experience, researchers, and service providers: experts who are dedicated to saving lives and preventing deaths by suicide. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in conversation with the presenter or share their thoughts through Collaborative Spaces. The MHCC is always looking for new speakers. If you would like to suggest a speaker, please email, suicideprevention@mentalhealthcommission.ca.
 
For more information, please visit the MHCC website or join the conversation on social media:
#MHspaces and #suicideprevention
 
Suicide prevention is possible. Learn more by registering for this webinar. 

 

 

Connecting Canada while Supporting Individuals’ Emotional and Mental Health
Le Canada reste en contact pour soutenir la santé mentale et émotionnelle de chacun

 
La Commission de la santé mentale du Canada vous invite à participer au webinaire Connecting Canada while Supporting Individuals’ Emotional and Mental Health (en anglais) (Le Canada reste en contact pour soutenir la santé mentale et émotionnelle de chacun)septième de la série de webinaires gratuits sur la prévention du suicide, les interventions et la postvention.
 
Le webinaire préenregistré se tiendra à un moment tout à fait particulier — le 10 septembre à 14 h (HE) — à l’occasion de la Journée mondiale de la prévention du suicide. Au pays, cette journée se déroulera sous le thème du « Canada reste en contact ». Vous trouverez ici plus de renseignements sur les activités prévues dans votre collectivité en l’honneur de cette journée.
 
Pour vous inscrire au webinaire, rendez-vous à https://mhcc-events.webex.com/mhcc-events/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=661194830
 
Quoi : Webinaire no 7 de la série de webinaires sur la prévention du suicide de la Commission
 
Quand : Le mercredi 10 septembre 2014 de 14 h à 15 h 15 (HE), Journée mondiale de la prévention du suicide
 
Titre : Connecting Canada while Supporting Individuals’ Emotional and Mental Health (Le Canada reste en contact pour soutenir la santé mentale et émotionnelle de chacun)
 
Orateurs : Elizabeth (Liz) Fisk – directrice générale – Distress Centres of Ontario; équipe de direction – Canadian Distress Line Centre; représentants d’autres Distress Line Centres du Canada (à déterminer).
 
Selon l’Enquête sur la santé dans les collectivités canadiennes de 2012, 10 pour cent des Canadiens étaient aux prises avec un problème de santé mentale ou de toxicomanie dans les 12 mois écoulés. Des personnes qui ont recours aux services d’une ligne d’écoute ou d’aide, celles qui le font pour des problèmes de santé mentale dépassent en proportion cette moyenne nationale; les appels de cette nature représentent 20 pour cent de tous les sujets de conversation.*
 
Les préposés qui prennent les appels aux lignes d’aide savent écouter avec bienveillance, offrir du soutien psychosocial et intervenir dans diverses situations allant de la détresse à la quête de soutien émotionnel en passant par la situation de crise ou l’intention suicidaire.
 
Toutefois, tant l’offre que la qualité des services sont inégales au pays.
 
Le Canadian Distress Line Network entend consolider les services offerts par les organismes au Canada en faisant office de réseau interrelié et en offrant une ligne de prévention du suicide à la grandeur du pays, accessible jour et nuit. Le Réseau préfère la démarche de développement communautaire à la formule uniformisée. La connaissance des services de santé mentale et des services sociaux offerts localement et la collaboration avec ces services sont essentiels au modèle de soutien centré sur l’appelant. 
 
Le webinaire s’adresse aux pourvoyeurs de services, aux responsables des orientations politiques et aux décideurs, aux personnes qui ont affronté la maladie mentale et à leur famille, et aux cliniciens. Les participants pourront discuter avec les panélistes après la présentation.
 
*Rapport annuel 2013 de Distress Centres Ontario
 
La Commission de la santé mentale du Canada estime qu’il est important de se parler et d’unir ses efforts en vue de réduire le nombre de suicides au Canada. Dans le but de mettre en commun connaissances, ressources et enseignements, elle vous invite à participer à cette série de webinaires portant sur la prévention du suicide, l’intervention et la postvention.
 
Habituellement, les webinaires sur la prévention du suicide, les interventions et la postvention sont diffusés à 13 h (HE) le deuxième mardi du mois. Ils sont animés par des personnes au savoir expérientiel, des chercheurs, des pourvoyeurs de services. Ce sont des experts qui s’emploient à sauver des vies et à prévenir le suicide. Les participants auront l’occasion de discuter avec les conférenciers ou de faire part de leurs observations ou idées sur la plateforme de collaboration. La Commission est toujours à la recherche de conférenciers. Pour proposer quelqu’un, communiquez avec nous par courriel à preventionsuicide@commissionsantementale.ca.

Pour de plus amples informations, visitez le site Web de la Commission ou participez à la conversation sur les médias sociaux :
#PFSantéMentale et #préventionsuicide
 
Il est possible de prévenir le suicide. Pour en savoir plus, assistez à ce webinaire. 

Welcome to the ACMHI (Ack-Mee) Blog!

I'd like to welcome you to the beginning of the Alberta Campus Mental Health Innovation (ACMHI) fund blog!

For many years students have struggled under academic and financial pressure. In recent years, the cost of being a student has become overwhelming, with many students needing to work to subsidize their student loads. Other pressures of academic life adding to the burden of students include, spending copious amounts of time reading and studying for each course;  achieving academic success; and maintaining important relationships and physical health, just to name a few of the daily pressures faced by post-secondary students.

Post-Secondary is generally accepted as a noble quest; one for knowledge and to create better career opportunities; however, are students faring through all of the stress of their endeavours? Can the burdensome qualities of post-secondary outweigh the benefits? There is reason to believe that students are not faring well. Mental health has become a spot-light issue in the media and on campuses. CBC, CASA, The Globe and Mail, and York University have all reported on the mental health problems facing post-secondary students today (links provided below), suggesting that mental health illness and promotion are lacking in our post-secondaries.

ACMHI was initiated to deal with the ever growing need for mental health promotion, maintenance, and stigma-reduction. The funds granted by ASEC through ACMHI are intended to support students in their on-campus communities with timely, appropriate and meaningful strategies; and to foster a culture of compassion and understanding where students feel confident in discussing mental health issues, and seeking support. 

 As Project Manager of ACMHI, I want to share with you some of the information we have gathered here at the ASEC office regarding mental health, such as articles, news releases, and other pertinent information about mental health and post-secondary students. Through this blog, I will be also be able to share some of the innovative projects and initiatives happening across Alberta and Canada. 

So, explore some of the research, projects, and initiatives surrounding public health, feel free to leave comments and get chatting. ACMHI is here to inspire innovation and collaboration, and this blog is tool for members to connect with each other and the rest of the mental health movement happening in Canada.

 

Cheers! 

- Jessica Turowski

 

 

Healthy Minds Canada: Resources Galore

Healthy Minds Canada (HMC) is a national charity that raises funds to support research and education and raise awareness about mental illness and addictions. HMC has funded 400 research projects at 42 universities and teaching hospitals across Canada. They are working to promote a society that values mental health and supports recovery of persons living with mental health issues and to improve the well-being of all Canadians by supporting research on mental health and mental health issues. 

HMC has reached dozens of thousands of people through knowledge transfer initiatives such workshops, symposia, printed and on-line resources and hundreds of thousands more through social media. Currently, HMC has released a resource list that is incredibly helpful and comprehensive. The resources are available by following the link below.

Resources include a wide variety of online resources pertaining to many different areas of mental health in Canada, from the:

  • Canadian Health Network
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Center For Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
  • Much more

Learn more about Healthy Minds and check out their resource links by clicking on the link below!

http://healthymindscanada.ca/resources/

ACMHI Approval Panel: At a Glance

Since the start of ACMHI funding in the summer of 2013, ASEC has been thankful to have the expertise of the Approval Panel. The panel is an external, impartial committee of reviewers making fund granting decisions. It currently consists of 8 mental health experts from across Alberta, with opportunities for others to join the panel to create a diversified adjudicating committee. Below, I have outlined a few areas of interest that panel member have, though, needless to say, these lists are far from exhaustive. If you would like to view panel members biographies or faculty websites (if applicable), feel free to email jessica@albertastudents.ca to learn more.

ACMHI Approval Panel Profiles: 

Chair - Sheena Abar, University of Alberta

  • Coordinates a team of Community Social Workers at UAlberta who are responsible for extending the spectrum of services offered to support the overall health and wellness of the campus community.  Through preventative action the team engages with partners from campus and surrounding area to strengthen capacity, provide bridges to resources, and advocate for greater inclusivity.  The main goal/function of the team is foster and celebrate connection and resiliency on campus.  This position combines my work at two previous post-secondary institutions with my formal social work training, allowing me to work directly with individuals and groups in developing creative solutions to the issues that arise from everyday situations.

Member - Keith Dobson, University of Calgary 

Areas of interest:

  • Clinical Psychology, Cognitive-Behavioural Models of Psychopathology, Cognitive-behavioural Therapies, Stigma, Evidence-based Practice, Professional Issues

Member - Bernadine Wojtowcz, University of Lethbridge

Area of interest:

  • Mental health, Mental illness, Crisis, Crisis intervention, Crisis management, Community mental health, Suicide, Suicide intervention, Suicide prevention, Depression, Mood disorders, Personality disorders, Psychosis, Anxiety disorders, Stigma, Mental status assessment

Member - Ione Challborn, Canadian Mental Health Association - Edmonton Region

  • Executive Director of CMHA, a registered not-for-profit, registered charity/foundation, making mental health matter in our community by promoting mental health and supporting the resilience and recovery of people affected by mental illness.

Member - Janki Shakar, University of Calgary

Area of interest:

  • Mental Health of Employees Experiencing Mental Illness, Support Needs of Employers, Mental Health Difficulties Among Post-Secondary Students, Domestic Violence in Visible Minority Immigrant Families, Needs of Family Caregivers of People Experiencing Disability. 

Member - Anthony Joyce, University of Alberta

Area of interest:

  • Psychotherapy Research, Evaluation, and Treatment Effectiveness 

Member - Jian Li Wang, University of Calgary

Area of interest:

  • Work Place Mental Health, Stigma Against Mental Illness, Psychiatric Epidemiology, Early Identification and Prevention of Mood/Anxiety Disorders.