Guelph university execs check door-to-door on student mental health

Posted on March 31st, 2017

Top officials from an Ontario university took the unusual step of going door-to-door at campus residences three nights last week to check on the mental health of students.

It has been a trying time at the University of Guelph, where four students have killed themselves since the academic year began last fall, with the latest suicide occurring in January.

Two of those deaths occurred in campus residences, where the vast majority of first-year students live.

In the aftermath of the suicides, the university’s Residence Life team, which runs the school’s on-campus housing, decided to dust off an old program in which faculty members join their staff, go door-to-door to check on students’ health and hand out information on various supports available.

“Any time there’s a tragic event, you sit back and you want to figure out how to provide more support and resources and whatever else can we do,” said Patrick Kelly, an associate director of Residence Life who helped organize the initiative that was last used about seven years ago.

“What were we missing and what can we do fairly quickly and successfully?”

The school’s president, Franco Vaccarino, and provost Charlotte Yates, were among the 80 people who knocked on doors this week. The group also included deans, senior faculty members, alumni and students who work at the residences.

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