Mental health education, awareness, literacy, and training

Orientation
Mental health education is a mandatory component of Orientation for incoming students.

Mental Health First Aid training
Mental Health First Aid training is made available to all residence staff, faculty, and support staff.

Suicide Awareness Training
SafeTALK is a three-hour, interactive program designed to create suicide-aware helpers. It is provided annually to all residence dons and residence assistants and is offered throughout the academic year to interested faculty, staff, and students.

It assists participants to:

  • identify people who may have thoughts of suicide
  • ask them directly about the possibility of suicide
  • connect them to live-saving resources 

Elephant in the Room Campaign
The campaign is co-ordinated by the mental health educator in partnership with the Mood Disorders Society of Canada. Staff and faculty who volunteer to act as mental health champions are provided with a small blue elephant-shaped stress ball. Displaying the elephant in their work space sends the message that the champion is someone with whom it is safe to discuss mental health concerns without fear of being looked upon differently. Champions are provided with enhanced information about available resources, on and off campus, how to make appropriate referrals, and how to initiate conversations.

Beyond the Marshes
Beyond the Marshes is part of Mysterious Barricades: A Cross-Canada Concert for Suicide Awareness, Prevention, and HOPE concert series, held at 18 locations across Canada to mark World Suicide Prevention Day. The Sackville concert features some of Mount Allison University’s talented Music faculty and students at a free, public concert.  The initiative is sponsored by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP), Mount Allison University, and the Canadian Mental Health Association (NB).

Garnet Guide
The Garnet Guide is a paper and online resource for staff, faculty, and students in helping roles that provides a comprehensive guide to identifying signs of emotional/mental health distress in others, as well as how to respond to such concerns, with an emphasis on making appropriate referrals to resources on campus, and in the community.

Pathway research project
Mount Allison is participating in the Pathway through Mental Health Care For Postsecondary Settings research project to test the effectiveness of mental health frameworks. The goal is to improve mental health literacy among faculty and staff and enable proper support from campus health care providers. These evidence-based findings inform system changes that occur at Mount Allison.

Other initiatives

  • Faculty training on accommodating mental health disabilities in the classroom, Universal Design for Learning, and identification of mental health disorders
  • Disability advising in mental health, autism spectrum disorder, and ADHD

Fostering a caring community

Promotion of health, wellness, and resilience is an integrated campus wide approach. The mental health educator promotes positive mental health and encourages mental health literacy.

The Meighen Centre for students with disabilities, the Wellness Centre, and Counselling Services provide an integrated approach to mental health support. A mental health framework has been developed for the University.

The Meighen Centre
The Meighen Centre holds an early orientation and transition program for students with disabilities including mental health disorders.

Student development counsellors
Student development counsellors are available to support students dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues/illness through the provision of solution-focused therapy. They are available Monday-Friday, with evening hours offered twice a week and daily crisis appointments to support students’ demanding schedules. Student seeking appointments for counselling are normally accommodated within less than two weeks.

Clinical psychologists
Mount Allison has added clinical psychologists to their mental health services, with three psychologists who are on campus three days per week. The psychologists treat students with more complex mental health issues such as trauma, eating disorders, and concurrent or co-morbid disorders. Their services are provided on a fee-for-service basis, with the majority of the fee covered by the Mount Allison Student Union health benefits package. A psychiatrist was added to the team in January 2017 and offers clinics twice per month to students who require this specific level of care.

Health Services
Two physicians hold on campus clinics twice per week, and the majority of their patients are students presenting with mental health issues. The registered nurse/educator is available Monday-Friday, with evening hours as well to accommodate students.

Student of Concern Case Team
A Student of Concern Case Team supports students who may be struggling with their mental health. The team convenes to suggest strategies and supports for students when they need it most.

Transition to employment guide
The Meighen Centre has created a guide for students — Transition to Employment for University Graduates with Disabilities — that is available to download online.


Student engagement and advocacy

Student organizations on campus actively engage students in mental health programming including:

  • Elephant in the Room Speakers Series
  • pet therapy events
  • stress reduction sessions and workshops

Change Your Mind
This student group's goal is to promote mental health and decrease the stigma attached to mental illness at Mount Allison. Its mission is “to transform our campus into an extremely open and welcoming space to talk about mental health, its benefits, its importance, and what you can do to nurture it.”

MAPS (Mount Allison Peer Support)
This peer-run online support forum for students allows students to develop skills in help-seeking and providing guidance to others. University staff provide training and oversight to this group.

jack.org
jack.org is the only national network of young leaders transforming the way people think about mental health. With initiatives and programs designed for young people, by young people, their goal is to end stigma in our generation. jack.org’s programs are designed to reach all young people. With monthly events and campaigns, the Mount Allison chapter encourages and enables students to better care for themselves and support their peers.

Elephant in the Room Speaker Series
Facilitated by the mental health educator and Change Your Mind, The Elephant in the Room is a campaign designed to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness. This annual event uses a peer education approach to promote mental health awareness. By having students share their own mental health experiences publicly, we increase understanding, break down shame and stigma, and begin important conversations about mental health.


Policies and protocols
Policies that specifically support individual students experiencing mental health concerns: