Campus communities have an opportunity to put their experiences and knowledge into practice by participating in the design of a provincial post-secondary mental health strategy that promotes the mental health of students, and more broadly supports health for all. That’s the focus of the second annual Wellness Summit being held at the University of Calgary June 2-3.
“The summit empowers students, post-secondary institutions, and community-based agencies to better inform and help shape a provincial healthy campus strategy and action plan,” says Debbie Bruckner, director of the SU Wellness Centre at the University of Calgary. “We all have a shared role in creating an inclusive, supportive and sustainable strategy and the sharing of knowledge and exchange of ideas is crucial to that development.”
Mental health strategy development on campus is a long term initiative supported by limited term funding provided by Alberta Health to the University of Calgary’s Student Health/Addictions Initiative in 2013 when the first wellness summit was held.
The recent 2013 National College Health Assessment (NCHA) which collects data on student habits, behaviours and perceptions on common health topics supports the need for a strategy and action plan.
In the assessment, University of Calgary students identified stress as the number one factor affecting academic performance. Many University of Calgary students experience a variety of mental health concerns throughout the year.
“Student health and well-being is essential to academic success, and the majority of University of Calgary students experience feelings of being overwhelmed, exhausted or stressed,” says Buckner. “A provincial strategy can address these issues and build on progress at the local, provincial and national level.”
The summit titled, Creating a Provincial Post-Secondary Mental Health Strategy, provides a forum for a province-wide discussion on mental health-related topics to help foster the development of a provincial mental health and addictions strategy. Community collaboration along with learning from the experiences of students and post-secondary institutions throughout Alberta are essential for a successful strategy.
Visit the Wellness Summit online for more information.