University of Guelph wants to do more for student mental health

Posted on March 6th, 2017

The current academic year has been a very difficult one for the University of Guelph, a university official said Friday.

Brenda Whiteside, the school’s associate vice-president (student affairs), said the close-knit campus community has been in a state of grief at various times throughout the year. There have been six deaths of U of G students, four of those by suicide.

U of G has a number of mental health supports for students, with services having been enhanced in recent times to address growing mental health challenges amount students. But it wants to do more, and do better.  

Now, in conjunction with Overlap, a human-centered design firm, the university has begun a community engagement process to better understand the struggles students have and what their wellness needs are.

On Monday, March 6, campus will host Stalkholder Lab, a series of interactive, small group sessions in which a series of strategic and facilitated exercises will be conducted to gain insight into the students’ experience. Overlap will also conduct walking surveys on campus.

“What they’re doing next week is trying to get a sense from students what the issues might be around mental health,” Whiteside said. “The complaints they might have, what’s working well, what’s not working well, and where do they see things needing to go.”

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