Student Mental Health Report

In alignment with the University of Alberta’s initiative to enhance the student experience, the Provost Fellow, Student Mental Health was tasked in January 2012 to examine services available to U of A students dealing with mental health issues. 

The final report Student Mental Health at the University of Alberta contained 54 recommendations spanning 10 categories covering a full spectrum of mental health supports and services. The Student Mental Health Report Overview describes where we are today.


A Visible Campus Commitment
Emphasizing the importance of student mental health at the University of Alberta requires a strong and visible endorsement by senior administrators. 

Expand Wellness Initiatives and Raise Their Profile
The importance of removing structural barriers and the importance of increasing peer support are addressed. Encouraging student-initiated mental health programming is an important area to focus upon in the future.

Dedicated Resource Allocation
Sustained and cohesive initiatives require secure funding envelops. Recommendations include the need for more physical space and financial sustainability.

Cohesive Mental Health & Wellness Programming
All student services, including disability services, academic services, spiritual services, ombud services or mental health and/or wellness services, deal with students impacted by mental health issues. Reducing silos will hasten the movement to more streamlined and adequate access and will allow diverse units to collaborate more effectively. 

Educating Our Community
Recommendations include developing workshops and training sessions for faculty, staff and APOs to educate them about the changing needs and expectations of students, creating handbooks and resources for parents and students. 

Communications Strategies
An efficient and effective and integrated communication strategy is essential to ensuring that information about the availability and breadth of mental health services at the University of Alberta is accessible to students, parents, and university personnel.

Structural Recommendations
A university infrastructure needs to be created to develop campus-wide mental health initiatives. Recommendations include the creation of a committee structure tasked with prioritizing, developing, and overseeing the implementation of mental health initiatives across the institution. 

Orientations
A thorough overview and evaluation of all departmental, faculty, service unit, and association orientations needs to be completed. Orientation content, delivery models, and scheduling need to be carefully scrutinized to ensure that students are receiving accurate and adequate guidance as they embark upon their academic careers.

International Students
In conjunction with the increasing numbers and cultural diversity of international students comes the need to re-evaluate how targeted services are designed and delivered. Recommendations focus upon augmenting the ability of international students to become meaningfully engaged in the university-at-large as well as the general community.

Outreach
Alumni are a most valued resource of the University of Alberta. Augmented involvement in student mental health initiatives, specifically, would benefit the university community. A formal relationship with Alberta Health Services would facilitate the provision of ongoing medical and psychological supports for students with serious mental health issues.