Summit Overview

On March 7th and 8th 2019, campus stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff and senior administrators, from across British Columbia will come together to mobilize collective action in pursuit of promoting mental health and well-being and healthier relationships with substances on campus. On March 9th, post-secondary students will gather together to continue the dialogue and grow the student voice towards the provincial goals of Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses.

Summit 2019, Building Connection At All Levels: A Socio-Ecological Approach to Well-being on Campus, takes place in downtown Vancouver in the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue. This year’s Summit will feature an array of engaging speakers and opportunities to learn and collaborate together, with immersive workshops aimed to inspire innovation and action on campus and beyond.

The first two days of the event are the Main Summit, which will include plenary dialogues, break-out concurrent sessions, reflection pods, an evening social, and a pop-up market. The program will run Thursday, March 7th 9am-5pm with an evening socializing and networking opportunity and Friday, March 8th 9am-5pm. The Student Summit will run Saturday, March 9th 9am-1pm.

Call for Proposals

We are accepting proposals for Concurrent Break-Out Sessions and the Pop-Up Market at the Summit. If you are interested in presenting, facilitating or sharing resources at the Summit, please check here for more information on how to apply and submit your application before January 31st 2019.

Program Description

Plenary Dialogues

During plenary sessions, participants will hear from and engage with innovative thought leaders and change-makers who are advancing a vision of healthy campus communities. Enhanced by interactive technology to promote audience participation, plenary sessions will consider the ongoing challenges in campus health promotion and practical solutions through keynote addresses, and panel dialogues with key stakeholders.

Concurrent Break-out Sessions

This year’s Concurrent Break-out Sessions will include an array of energizing idea-focused Innovation Talks, Deep Dive Exploratory Dialogue Sessions and Creative and Arts-Inspired Workshops meant to promote thought and action around promoting connection on campus through a wide variety of lenses. Talks will be led by members of our campus community, as well as campus community members from other regions. We hope these sessions will leave participants with fresh ideas and energized for action when they return to campus!

Pop-up Market

The Pop-Up Market has become a Summit staple! It is highly energized market-style space where campuses can showcase and share resources at the Summit and let others know about campus-based efforts more broadly. Summit participants will be ‘shopping’ through the marketplace and this is your chance to learn what other campuses have been up to!

Reflection Pods

Summit participants will be offered the opportunity to elect to engage an immersive stream in which they will collectively reflect with others with similar interests throughout the event. Participants will be able choose one of five (5) streams to engage in group reflections:

  • Connecting with Individuals on Campus
  • Facilitating Interpersonal Connection on Campus
  • Building Community Connection on Campus
  • Building Connection Across the Institution
  • Building Connection Beyond the Institution

Networking and Social Events

Stay tuned for more information for how we will support you to connect socially with others at the Summit!

Okanagan Charter Endorsement Dialogue

The Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses Community of Practice is considering possibly endorsing “The Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting University and Colleges”. This Summit session will provide an opportunity for participants to deeply engage in discussion around the complexities of endorsement and then collectively decide if and how we would like to endorse the Charter. It is an opportunity not to be missed.


March 7, 2019

Keynote Speaker

We are delighted to announce Dr Anna Thorpe as keynote speaker for the 2019 Summit! Anna comes to us from New Zealand where she is a leading figure in the Health Promoting Campuses movement. Anna offers a wealth of experience in both health promotion and in tertiary educational settings. She currently serves as a health promoter with tertiary education and alcohol harm reduction at the Canterbury District Health Board. She co-chairs the national Tertiary Wellbeing Aotearoa New Zealand (TWANZ) network and has been involved in several research and writing projects around the Okanagan Charter. She supports post-secondary institutions with strategy development, substance use, well-being, and is currently working on a national toolkit for campuses to address sexual violence. Anna is a member of the International Health Promoting Campuses Working Group and is currently helping to organize an International Health Promoting Campuses Symposium this April in New Zealand, dedicated to activating the Okanagan Charter in campuses around the world. The title of Anna’s talk is: Building Connections on Campus: Frameworks, Examples and Challenges. Please join us in welcoming Anna to Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses on March 7th at our 2019 Summit in Vancouver! 


Connecting the Dots on BC Campuses

This session provides an opportunity to be drawn into a conversation among four individuals engaged in different ways with post-secondary institutions in BC. The discussion will build on the ideas presented in the keynote address and explore implications for BC campuses. Panelists are:

  • Martin Mroz (SFU)

  • Andrew Kerr (Mental Health & Substance Use Branch of the Ministry of Health)

  • Charlotte Heppner (NVIT)

  • Lauren Oleksewich (Masters student)

Arts-Based Workshop

Movement and Mental Health Workshop with DancePl3y by Melanie Levenberg, M.Ed., B.Kin

Truth: today’s world can be intense for university and college students. Academics, performance, workload, time management, social networks, time with friends, authenticity, and (dare we say) FUN? Positive mental health requires students to have a positive sense of self, spirit and belonging, yet through the juggling act of the activities above, many of our students are stumbling through their post-secondary experience. In this interactive workshop, you’ll gain a better understanding of mental health and the factors that affect it. Get ready to experience practical activities that use movement to promote and foster positive mental health, by addressing the cognitive, social, physical and emotional domains of wellbeing.

Story Weave by Dawn Schell and Anne Cirillo

Story is powerful. Story allows us to connect with each other. Story gives us an opportunity to learn from another’s experience, to glimpse a view of the world that may be different from our own. Story gives us a chance to better understand our culturally diversity community. 

At UVic we have used an Applied Theatre strategy called ‘Story Weave’ as a way to build community at all levels. Over the past six years we have hosted 43 story weave sessions as part of student welcomes, classes, conferences and campus-wide mental health events. We use woven stories as a way to share snapshots of students’ personal journeys. These stories from our international and domestic students are dynamic, rich and important in understanding our campus community. 

In this session we will cover the basics of a story weave and how we have used it effectively at UVic. We will discuss how others might use it in their settings. We will present a story weave in person on the topic of Building Community and share in video format some of our past student story weaves.

Deep Dive Sessions

Engaging Faculty to Support and Enhance Student Wellbeing by Diana Jung and Levonne Abshire

With the development of the The Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges (2015), the call to adopt a settings-based and systems approach to health and wellbeing promotion has reinvigorated conversation in higher education. At the University of British Columbia (UBC), the investment in the Okanagan Charter brings forth the opportunity to consider the role of upstream interventions to target health promotion and cultural change in the broader setting and environment, (built, natural, academic, social, etc.) as well as their impact on individual behavior.
At the UBC Vancouver campus, this approach focuses on building capacity of campus partners to promote student wellbeing and considering the learning environment as a space for health promotion. The presenters will briefly share their experiences in engaging with faculty members to facilitate their capacity to support and enhance student wellbeing by highlight key initiatives and partnerships. The remainder of the session will provide participants the opportunity to take part in an asset-mapping activity to identify opportunities in their own campus context to engage faculty members in health promotion activities.

Supporting mental health on Canadian campuses through the development of the Standard on Psychological Health and Safety for Post-Secondary Students by Polly Leonard and Punit Virk

An increasing number of post-secondary students, in Canada, are struggling with their mental health, with 50% of students using campus mental health services and 10% being seen in urgent or crisis situations. The whole campus community has a role to play – to promote mental health of all students and to assist students by directing them to available resources both on and off campus. The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is currently working collaboratively with the CSA Group to develop a Standard on Psychological Health and Safety for Post-Secondary Students. The Standard will act as a voluntary guideline to facilitate Canadian academic institutions in the post-secondary sector put in place policies, programs, and processes to successfully promote and support students’ psychological health and safety and success. The Standard is set to be released in 2020.

Using roundtable discussions and activities, presenters will highlight key content from the Standard to gauge participant feedback and input. The discussion will focus on whether presented content from the Standard resonates with participants, or if they feel crucial topics or details are missing, and whether sensitive topics have been thoughtfully covered. Participants will have the opportunity to dissect specific components of the Standard and will be encouraged to share their perspectives, experiences and innovative ideas. Interactive discussions will be complemented by worksheets, flipcharts, and small group activities, to highlight the campus community’s voice. Participants will leave the session with a greater understanding of the Standard, as well as having had the ability to provide concrete responses to inform the drafting of the Standard.

Innovation Talks

The Connection between a Supportive Campus Environment and Student Mental Health by April Holland, Kwantlen Polytechnic University 

Poor student mental health is an issue affecting attrition rates and student performance across the world, and campuses within British Columbia are not exempt. Through findings from a quantitative study conducted at KPU, the author was able to identify how many students were considered to be mentally healthy, how the results compared to national averages, and if there were predictors of student mental health. The goal of the session is to explore findings and to engage in a dialogue on how to address the need to promote student mental health by building a community connection on campus.

Collegiate Recovery Communities: Building Campus Connection for Students in Recovery from Addiction by Sarah Fudjack, UBC-Vancouver

This session introduces an innovative, evidence-based approach to meet the needs of this hidden population by establishing campus-based collegiate recovery communities (CRCs). Heightened interest from policy makers and funders in the United States has to date resulted in the implementation of CRCs in over 150 universities nationwide. CRCs have been identified by students in recovery as more effective than external treatment and recovery support services (Laudet, et al., 2016). This is due to CRCs providing campus-based connection to a support network of peers in recovery, and better ensuring that students do not have to choose between their academic pursuits and maintaining their recovery (Association of Recovery in Higher Education, 2017). 

March 8, 2019


The Complexity of Healthy Connection: A Conversation with with Susan Turner and Paola Ardiles

In this session, two public health leaders in BC, Shannon Turner and Paola Ardiles, in a conversation, reflect on some of what it takes to nurture healthy systems and healthy people. In particular, they will draw from their experience with Bridge for Health in nurturing social enterprise and innovation.


Anticipating our future

Standing in the present, we will look back at our past and the creation of the Okanagan Charter and forward to consider where we go from here. Starry-eyed visions must be firmly grounded, so come prepared to construct the structures needed to support HM|HC in nurturing the work we have been envisioning.

Arts-Based Workshop

Rethinking the Campus Enivornment with Public Art by Matty Hillman

During a humid week in June 2018, a diverse group of Selkirk College students explored what it means to have a healthy campus experience through the creative process. Grounded in holistic health and intersectional lenses, the students conceptualized, designed and executed a large scale mural project. The aesthetics of the finished piece as well as student feedback on the experience highlights the richness that diversity provides to the student experience.

Using the creative process as a mechanism of inquiry, group mural projects require that participants connect to various aspects of their life and environment: personal introspection into their creative capabilities and limitations, observation and connection with their physical environment, and interpersonal connection between each other in regards to decision making, group dynamics, project cohesion and creative license.

This workshop is experiential in nature. Following a brief presentation on the Selkirk mural project, workshop participants will be provided with an opportunity to learn about and experiment with various mural making techniques, as well as experience and reflect on the dynamics present in a group art project. Ultimately this workshop invites the participants to reimagine the physical and aesthetic campus environment and consider what community art projects can do to promote wellness on their campuses.

The focus of this workshop will be on the creative process, as opposed to the aesthetics of the finished product (no artistic experience necessary).

Let’s Talk Mental Health – On Campus by Monique Sekhon and Marco Zenone

Universities in Canada dedicate a significant effort to improving the mental health and wellness of their students. Often, these strategies are informed by quantitative data that indicates the amount of students experiencing a mental illness/condition and lack qualitative insights that can build upon the issue/provide context.These strategies also focus on treatment and service provision, as compared to looking at structural features within the university to promote mental wellness. The Simon Fraser University (SFU) Student Health Advisory Committee hosted three dialogue sessions to yield student perspective and ideas to proactively improve mental health among students. These dialogue sessions were hosted by students to benefit other students, and utilized an appreciative strategy. Four thematic areas of improvement were identified from this process: (1) physical spaces, (2) relationships with administration/faculty, (3) services, and (4) engagement. Specific recommendations are offered under each category to improve the mental health and wellness of SFU students. These strategies are student informed and we hypothesize will have significant impact.

Creative Collective: Building Interpersonal Well-being & Social Connections through Creativity by Lehoa Mak and Jacyln Hayward

Humans are creative beings. Building Ikea furniture, attending Paint Night with friends, searching for leaves and pinecones with your toddler – each is an example of tapping into creativity but each represents a different process for activating the creative mindset.
By providing opportunities for students and staff to tap into their own creative processes, we can heighten awareness of ways that are conducive to enhancing overall well-being in the classroom or workplace. This is key to building social connections, exploring emotional and interpersonal well-being, and enhancing student learning and development.
Creativity can be used in a myriad of ways to express ideas, reflections, emotions, and thoughts. It invites us to navigate our worlds by exploring different strategies so that we may find stillness and timelessness in our reflective selves, an experience Csikszentmihalyi calls flow. This explorative process will allow for understanding of self, flow, and the activation of one’s own creative self, while recognizing the diversity of others and how this may be reflected in classrooms or workplaces.

Creative Collective is an initiative that provides the opportunity for people to relax, connect, and unwind with crafts, music, motion, and more. Launched in 2017, Creative Collective invites students, staff, and community members on campus to take a creative break and de-stress. Using the Dietrich model of creativity, this initiative invites participants to activate four components of their creative mindsets: thoughts, feelings, spontaneity, and intent. This model allows for curated ways to demonstrate the mobility of creative flow among diverse thinkers and situations. The four elements: deliberate cognitive, or emotional, and spontaneous cognitive, or emotional, provide evidence-based explanations on ways creativity is activated in the brain.

In this session, participants will receive an overview of Creative Collective and the Dietrich model of creativity. Participants will be invited to explore four activities related to the Dietrich model’s components and reflect on their experience. At the end of the session, they will identify one idea they can take away from this session to enhance their own well-being practices and how they may apply creative practices at their own campus.

Deep Dive Sessions

Campus Smoking Policy Options: Contribution to community well-being? by Dr. Tim Dyck

This session will offer (and hope to generate further) questions for dialogue. The queries will first revolve around what campuses want to achieve through smoking policies (and through the processes to arrive at them). Considerations will also be raised in regard to three common policy options, to encourage critical reflection and conversation around issues and challenges involved in implementing them in a manner consistent with health promotion principles and respectful of cultural dimensions of smoking practices. 

Smoking policies recognize divergence within the campus community around the practice, and to varying degrees they serve to segregate some members from others in the occupation of public space. How can distancing, if necessary, be accomplished in ways that do not compromise connectedness and hinder or undermine the well-being of campus members? The onus would seem to be especially (but not only) on the institution to attend to this concern. How can campuses build relationships and a shared sense of responsibility for being considerate in situations where some are being formally required to show respect for others (rather than simply being expected to show it along with the rest)?

Mental health literacy approaches on our campuses: A conversation about approaches, challenges, and strategies by Tam Uden, Miranda Massie, Kelly White

At UBC Vancouver, recent steps have been taken to address mental health literacy among the campus population at all levels. Mental health literacy is defined as “understanding how to obtain and maintain positive mental health; understanding mental disorders and their treatments; decreasing stigma related to mental disorders; and, enhancing help-seeking efficacy” (Kutcher, Wei, Coniglio, 2016). Additionally, it is important that mental health literacy be context specific, developmentally appropriate, and effectively integrated into organizations and social structures (Kutcher, Wei, Coniglio, 2016).

Using this understanding of mental health literacy as a framework has been helpful in developing approaches suitable for both student and staff/faculty audiences at UBC Vancouver. This session will be an opportunity to share more about the rationale for this approach, followed by facilitated discussion among colleagues and across campuses. The discussion can include examples of how campuses are addressing mental health literacy, challenges or barriers to doing so, and strategies for moving from awareness to literacy across populations. Please come to the session with examples, ideas, and questions, as we work together to explore this topic more deeply.

The Interconnected Student: The Importance of Holistic Education by Charlotte Heppner, Jennifer Lisle, and Marcia Mejia-Blanco

This session will provide an overview of helping students to create balance in their lives for success in their studies and throughout their life. Our group research project through a UBC Masters of Education, Leadership and Administration program, explored the contribution of relationships, emotional and spiritual learning to student success and whole person development.  Students are encouraged to explore and understand themselves wholistically thus encouraging lifestyle choices that lead to less high-risk behaviours, and an overall desire to develop healthy relationships with those around them.

Innovation Talks

Advancing Campus and Community Well-being Through Teacher Preparation by Louise McCLelland, Kerri Murray (Ever Active Schools), and Dr. Shelly Russell-Mathew (Werklund School of Education University of Calgary). 

Under the leadership of a counselling psychologist, the Werklund School of Education, the Faculty of Kinesiology, and Ever Active Schools began actively partnering on teacher preparation at the post-secondary level (at the University of Calgary) to accelerate closure of the critical gap between how teachers are prepared to address wellness (their own and that of their students) and what they are expected to do in practice. 

This presentation will overview this model and highlight some of the many ways faculties are embedding wellness within their local contexts to create a culture shift conducive of promoting a healthy working and learning environments.

Enhancing Well-being and Social Connection for Graduate Students and the Students they Teach by Alisa Stanton and Mutinta Bbela, Simon Fraser University

There is increasing concern regarding the mental well-being of graduate students in higher education settings (Evans, Bira, Gastelum, Weiss, & Vanderford, 2018). There is also an incredible opportunity for graduate students to be part of creating a healthy campus community through their roles as Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Tutor Markers (TMs). At Simon Fraser University (SFU), a recent report on Students’ Perceptions of their Learning Environments indicates that undergraduate students feel their TAs and TMs play a large role in shaping their overall experience and sense of community as students (Neal & Schell, 2018). This session will introduce an innovative new project that was developed at SFU to both support graduate student well-being, and teach them strategies for creating conditions for well-being through their roles as TAs and TMs. The session will briefly introduce the project goals, activities, and the consultation process undertaken in developing the project and will then present initial evidence of positive impacts on both graduate student participants and the undergraduate students they work with.

How the UBC Sauder School of Business is Building Community for First Year Students by Lauren Venema and Taryn Jessop, UBC-Vancouver Sauder School of Business

Building a sense of community and connectedness is a key priority for the UBC Sauder School of Business so the Student Engagement and Development Team in the Undergraduate Office developed a cohesive strategy of orientation programs, transition programs and other support-based initiatives to build community among the first year student population. We developed The Spark orientation program in 2014 – a 3 day Sauder-specific orientation program to welcome first year and transfer students to the UBC Sauder community. The primary purpose of The Spark is for new students to build community and lasting friendships, both with peers in their classes and with upper year student mentors. In our presentation we will talk about The Spark and Spark Chats, and give more insight into our strategy for building community among the first year student population at UBC Sauder.

ACCESS Open Minds by Feodor Poukhovski-Sheremetyev and Sara Jalali, University of Alberta

ACCESS Open Minds is a pan-Canadian research project that aims to improve how youth across the country access and use mental health resources. Each of ACCESS’ fourteen sites has needed to contend with unique contextual challenges in order to address the project’s core tenets of early identification, quick access to initial assessments, seamless transition out of the pediatric mental health system, and timely access to evidence-based interventions. As the only site located on a university campus, ACCESS OM University of Alberta is in a unique position to discuss the merits and challenges of breaking new ground in student mental healthcare. In this presentation, representatives from the University of Alberta’s ACCESS Youth Mental Health Council will explain how an interdisciplinary approach that consistently takes into account student voices has led to rapid successes.

Pop-Up Market

Student Engagement at Thompson Rivers University by Angela Kadar and Rachel Cantin

At Thompson Rivers University, Student peer mentors at the TRU Wellness Centre have teamed up along with coordinators of Art with Impact for two years in order to hold a “Movies for Mental Health” night. In addition, in collaboration with the counsellors at TRU, we have teamed up with the YMCA-YWCA to offer their program called “YMinds”. These events have helped faculty and peer mentors connect to students on campus, and build connection beyond the institution. During the Pop-up Market, we will discuss how a community-developed mental wellness program was implemented on a university campus.

Beyond the Blues: Education and Screening Days by Sarah Hamid-Balma

Beyond the Blues: Education and Screening Days is a community-led campaign each fall and winter to help individuals, families and learn how to recognize and prevent problems with stress, mood, anxiety, and risky drinking and other substance use and recognize and strengthen protective factors. The intent of the events—using approaches like screening self-tests, games, workshops and videos—is to help attendees start conversations about their mental health and well-being in a non-threatening, empowering and supportive setting. 

Building Connection Beyond the Institution with The Foundry by Marco Zenone

Foundry Centres provide a one-stop-shop for young people to access mental health care, substance use services, primary care, social services and youth and family peer supports. The centres are a safe space where young people can be supported without judgment. 

Keep.meSAFE with by Christine Wach and Stephanie Walker

The keep.meSAFE (My SSP) program has a focus on creating awareness through full campus integration, providing 24/7 wrap-around access to culturally and linguistically relevant clinical mental health support services to reach students where they are, anytime, anywhere. Combining clinical Master’s level counsellors, with 24/7 culturally and linguistically matched support has revolutionized student support in the time of internationalization on campus.  We will share success stories with recent launches at Simon Fraser University, University of Toronto and FIC.

Promoting Workplace Health at the University of British Columbia by Miranda Massie and Melissa LaFrance

UBC’s Health, Wellbeing and Benefits unit (HR), strives to innovate and collaborate in an effort to enhance the individual health of employees, as well as the organizational culture on campus. Our work views the wellbeing of academic and administrative staff as integral to the creation of safe, healthy and supportive campus environments, as well as key to addressing the calls to action in the Okanagan Charter. Come visit us for a chance to learn about 5 innovative wellbeing initiatives geared towards staff and faculty including Sports Day, the Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge, UBC’s Orange Folder for assisting colleagues in distress, the annual Travelling Health Fair and the Healthy Workplace Initiatives Program.

Talk to Me (TTM) at Vancouver Island University by Michael Kuntz and Celina Guadagni

Talk to Me (TTM) is a campus campaign that provides opportunities that support social connection and belonging amongst students. It works to reduce the stigma of talking to people they don’t know. Its goal is to reduce loneliness. Because of the role screens and social media play in their lives, TTM also raises awareness about how excessive screen use and social media negatively effects their relationships with people and their view of themselves. 

 March 9, 2019


Keynote Address by Andrea Paquette

Andrea Paquette, is the President and Founder of the Stigma-Free Society, formerly the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia (BDSBC). She created the Bipolar Babe Project in 2009, and thereafter, an impacting website, which offered people a place to connect and find valuable mental health information. The Bipolar Babe Project evolved into her Charity in 2010, with the collaboration of seven dedicated Board of Directors.

The Charity has been renamed as the Stigma-Free Society and offers six programs on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland under the Stigma-Free Zone branding. Their service delivery includes a number of mental health peer support groups and presentations programs for both youth and adults.The Society offers presentations to schools and the community on the topic of stigma, with a focus on mental health. Their purpose is to create awareness and understanding of various stigmas, while encouraging people to be accepting of themselves and others. Andrea promotes a stigma-free culture and co-founded a stigma-free zone movement across British Columbia, which aims to create awareness, understanding and acceptance.

Andrea is passionate about educating today’s youth in schools and adults in the community about the stigma surrounding mental health and additional societal stigmas that negatively affect people’s perceptions of themselves and others. She shares her passionate personal story of struggle and triumph since her bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2005 throughout multiple venues across Canada. She is an award winning mental health activist, educator, facilitator, speaker and published author. Andrea has presented her story at over 350 schools, workplaces, community organizations and events, reaching over 30,000+ people.

Andrea is the 2015 Courage To Come Back Award Recipient in the category of Mental Health given by Coast Mental Health, the 2013 Mel Cooper Citizen of the Year in Victoria, BC, and she is also the Winner of the 2013 Award for Youth Mentorship from the National Council for Behavioral Health, Washington, D.C. Andrea is recognized as the winner for Vancouver Island’s Business and Community Award – 2015 Top 20 Under 40 Award. Andrea has also been named as an official spokesperson for the 2016 Faces of Mental Illness Campaign for the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH). She has been featured on a Bell Let’s Talk Public Service Announcement aired nationally and multiple media outlets that showcase her personal story. Andrea is a 2018 Nominee for the Women Influencer Awards from the Women’s Collaborative Hub and a 2017 nominee for the YWCA Women of Distinction Community Champion Award. 

The Stigma-Free Society has a true grassroots history, which was first a project ignited by Andrea Paquette, who created a Bipolar Babe t-shirt and Bipolar Babes website to share her personal experience, so others did not have to suffer in silence like she once did. Her efforts led to meeting supportive and dedicated individuals in the local Victoria community who formed the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia in 2010. The Charity changed their name to the Stigma-Free Society in August 2016, to expand their mandate and include the conversation around all stigmas, with a focus on mental illness. The Stigma-Free Society is a registered Canadian Charity since 2010 and has designed programs providing education about stigmas with an emphasis on mental health and peer support for those facing mental health challenges with a special focus on youth.

Open Space

Open Space is a social learning practice that convenes participants around specific questions, topics, or themes with the intent of stimulating dialogue. Participants determine their own learning agenda based on topics that are most interesting to them. The methodology encourages participants to engage in a democratic learning process that involves autonomously pitching questions, topics, or themes for discussion with other participants. Topics often vary, but may include showcasing a specific idea or focus area, requesting guidance from colleagues on a particular project or question, or sharing an initiative that participants would like to work on collaboratively.

Hosted by:

Monique Sekhon is an undergraduate Population Health student at Simon Fraser University, where she is currently finishing her Honours through the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addictions (CARMHA) at SFU. Monique leads a mental health/substance use awareness organization entitled “Care2Share”and is a member of Foundry Victoria’s Youth Advisory Council. As the previous co-lead of the Student Health Advisory Committee at SFU, Monique initiated projects such as “Let’s Talk Mental Health” and SFU’s inaugural “World Mental Health Day”. She is currently on co-op with the BC Ministry of Health, and works as a lifeguard/swim instructor and for a film production company on weekends!

Student Social

LUMEN is a non profit breaking the stigmas surrounding invisible illnesses to create a society where impacted individuals can revel in the chaos of their stories as a community. We are a space to lift each other as a society through speaking the truth and embracing the fractured pieces of life we all carry to create a new meaning to invisible illnesses. Invisible illnesses are chronic health conditions that are not visibly apparent and can have adverse effects on the perception of a ‘normal’ life. This includes autoimmune diseases, mental health conditions, and neurological disorders.Summin and Balraj both attended Simon Fraser University, and met through their classes, where LUMEN was curated. Summin has completed a business degree and volunteered/worked with over eight non-profit organizations and is currently getting her Bachelor of Social Work at the University of British Columbia. At the age of 13 she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and since then she has been diagnosed with celiac disease, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. Summin has struggled with chronic pain and depression often leaving her feeling trapped and alone. Balraj has completed a business degree and has developed passions for social entrepreneurship and helping others through the process. Balraj is s a close supporter of someone facing multiple invisible illnesses and believes this is equally challenging. She works towards overcoming the adversity attached with alcoholism and depression without letting it define or confine her. She is a strong believer of being comfortable in one’s truth, owning your own story, and providing support.

Care2Share began in 2016 as a little idea to help peers dealing with mental illness and substance use problems to learn about resources and find support. It has since hosted 2 events, traveled to Parliament, and is venturing into technology and social media.

Our vision is to contribute to a healthy and equitable world for every human. Our mission is to advocate for and foster collaboration with individuals and communities on the topic of mental health and substance use through sharing, learning, growing, and ideating together. We are for you, by you. #Care2Share @caretwoshare. Monique Sekhon is an undergraduate Population Health student at Simon Fraser University, where she is currently finishing her Honours through the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addictions (CARMHA) at SFU. Monique leads a mental health/substance use awareness organization entitled “Care2Share”and is a member of Foundry Victoria’s Youth Advisory Council. As the previous co-lead of the Student Health Advisory Committee at SFU, Monique initiated projects such as “Let’s Talk Mental Health” and SFU’s inaugural “World Mental Health Day”. She is currently on co-op with the BC Ministry of Health, and works as a lifeguard/swim instructor and for a film production company on weekends!

CMHA BC: Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is a national charity that helps maintain and improve mental health for all Canadians. As the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness. In BC, mental health, substance use and addictive behaviour are within the scope of the organization. Shahla Mostafa is a fifth year UBC student studying psychology and passionate about mental health. Through lived experiences and experiences working with CMHA, Shahla has grown to learn about how mental health is integral to school systems and communities.


Registration Now Open!

This year, rather than providing travel bursaries to institutions, we have made an effort towards an equity-based model for ticket prices, intended to create some balance for those CoP members who spend significant time and expense to attend the Summit. Therefore, ticket prices have been adjusted somewhat proportionately for local Lower Mainland campus members and for members traveling from Vancouver Island or Thompson Okanagan, and for those from the North and other more distant areas of the province. Geographically influenced ticket prices are: 

  • Lower Mainland-$350
  • Vancouver Island or Thompson Okanagan- $250
  • More distant areas (including Kootenays, Cariboo, etc.)- $150
  • Student (Main Summit and Student Summit)- $75
  • Student Summit Only- $25

                                                                                   *excluding GST

Registration for this event will be done through Eventbrite. Eventbrite accepts all major credit cards including MasterCard, Visa and American Express. Due to limited seating at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue, we encourage interested participants to register as quickly as possible. 

*Please note that as per our refund policy, event tickets will only be refunded up until 10 days before the Summit.


Our group rate at the Delta Hotel has now expired. If you have any inquiries pertaining to your accommodations, please email [email protected]



The Delta Hotel by Marriott has generously provided us with an excellent rate to meet our needs during the Summit. This hotel is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, adjacent to the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue and boasts suites that are an average of 35% larger than other hotels downtown.

The special rate for conference delegates is $209.00 (plus tax) per room, per night. We have room blocks for the nights of March 6, 7 & 8, with a few rooms blocked March 9, for those who would like to stay a bit longer. Please reserve your rooms prior to February 7th 2019 to receive this special rate. Rooms are generous in size and those wishing to save on their room costs would be wise to consider sharing rooms with fellow attendees. All rooms contain both a bed and a pull-out couch.

To take advantage of this rate, please use this link provided by the Delta Hotel.


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