College Life- Food, Drugs & Health

Posted on November 24th, 2015

19 November 2015 | Hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division, Centre for Addictions Research of BC and Jessie's Legacy Eating Disorders Prevention Program. 

Campus members experience a continuum of healthy to unhealthy relationships with food, alcohol and other substances. Like sex and other feel-good things in life, food and psychoactive substances change the way people feel. And, they can affect the way people relate to each other.

On college campuses today, the intersection of food and substance use is an important part of the positive interactions and community-building that takes place. But this intersection is also associated with increased risks to health and social wellbeing.

View the SlidesWatch the Webinar


View the FrameworkRead Summary Notes


"It has to be written in the DNA of institutions that they care about food. From a financial point of view, from a planning point of view, etc. The solution to making it easier is that it needs to start with administrators and key decision makers."

"If you have the will to make the healthy choice the easy choice, you can truly transform food and by extension people’s mental health as well."

"It’s not enough to teach people to be healthy, if the environment in which they live undermines their ability or motivation to engage in healthy actions."



This webinar intended to:

  • Look at the complex behaviours of eating and substance use from a broad perspective that considers the many factors that influence student choices (e.g., academic pressures, food access, built environment, mental health), and
  • Explore a comprehensive approach to address these influences and shape the campus culture.

Discussion reflected on the following ideas to help guide a campus response:

  • A better understanding of what a healthy relationship with food and substances looks like
  • Making the healthy choice the easy choice
  • Social support and social responsibility

Campus Services Panel

  • Ai-Lan Chia – Associate Director, Counselling Services, A Division of Student Affairs, University of Victoria (member of campus Collaborative Eating Disorder Clinic)
  • Brenda Slomka – Assistant Director Student Affairs,  University of Northern British Columbia
  • Michael Waglay – Program Coordinator – Beyond Campus Food Banks, Meal Exchange
  • Sarah Hanson – Wellness Centre Manager, University of Northern British Columbia

Student Panel

  • Aveleigh Campbell-Wyman – 4th year Bachelor of Science in Nursing student, attending University of Victoria through Selkirk College
  • Matty Hillman – Master of Arts student and Teaching Assistant in the School of Child and Youth Care, University of Victoria


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