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The Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health spoke with Elizabeth Cawley, the Medavie Healthy Campuses Coordinator for the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU).
The newly created position works to establish and initiate implementation of an AAU Post-Secondary Student Mental Health Strategic Plan. Elizabeth was appointed to the position in 2017 and has served in that role since with a three-year funding commitment from Medavie Health Foundation.
The organization and role first began in 2011, when Universities Canada met with senior college and university administrators, to facilitate a national discussion on the rapidly emerging mental health needs of post-secondary students.
The Atlantic leaders attending this event were committed to focused action following multiple deaths by suicide on campuses across the country, including in Atlantic Canada. This focus led to the creation of the AAU Healthy Campuses Working Group representing over 100,000 students.
The AAU Healthy Campuses Working Group committed to collaboration among post-secondary institutions on a regional basis. Following a series of regional workshops in 2012 and 2013 along with a summit in 2015, the Working Group was able to take the next step and move from discussion to action.
With the opportunity to move forward, the following nine priorities for the Atlantic Region were set:
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