After the CMHA Summit 2012, students wanted to continue to stay connected which lead to the development of the Student Leaders and Recent Alumni (SLRA) group. The group was created to facilitate cross-province student/recent alumni knowledge exchange, advocate on provincial level issues, collaborate on joint projects, and provide student voice for Healthy Minds Healthy Campuses projects.

Over the next year, the SLRA group became part of the Summit Working Group and worked closely with Shaylyn Matichiine to provide input and contributed to planning the student-focused portion of the 5th Annual HM|HC Summit.

The success of including and planning a student-focused portion of the event lead to increased interest in planning a province-wide student event. Throughout 2014, SLRA became part of the Planning Committee and contributed to organizing an event in early January 2015 that was named for what it was: a Provincial Student Event – Mapping a Healthy Post-Secondary Culture: Knowledge Exchange and Strategic Planning for Provincial Group. This event brought together students from 12 institutions across BC for a one-day participant-driven, strategic planning event. After the event, a few students got together in a small coffee shop to type up and analyze data which included a provincial scan of mental health initiatives on campus and key priority areas identified by students.

Based on feedback from students, more action-driven work needed to be done to get things started. In January 2016, the Student Engagement Committee was formed to act as an interim group that would help support the finalization of the strategic plan for what was called the SLRA. Upon completion of the Strategic Plan, the goal of the Committee was to transition to the leadership structure identified and start moving forward provincial activities prioritized through the consultation process.

Throughout 2016, a small group of students from different post-secondary institutions met monthly (or more!) to brainstorm and develop a strategic plan. As a result of many meetings at various Vancouver coffee shops and buildings, a variety of post-it notes, some visioning activities, and lots of emails and virtual connections, the HM | HC Student Network was born!

Since then the team has been building upon the provincial scan initially conducted in 2014 and expanding the Networks membership. Check out the Current Projects section to see what we’re working on today!