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“Mental Health on Canadian Campuses: A National Survey of Services” evaluated existing mental health promotion, identification and intervention initiatives at post-secondary institutions across the country and was completed by 168 out of 180 institutions. Its results indicated that the range and depth of available services is variable.
In this article, Glenda MacQueen, vice dean of the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, highlights the key takeaways from the survey results. She identifies the diverse mental health needs of students and the institutional necessity of negotiating the shared responsibility of student well-being, and proposes a three-tier approach for prevention strategies.
“Students who feel simply overwhelmed or anxious can generally benefit from initiatives like therapy animals, nap rooms and meditation drop-ins during exams. But petting puppies isn’t enough for students suffering from a serious mental illness — underscoring the need for colleges and universities to be “explicit in their social contract” with students and their families’” says MacQueen.
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