Roadmap for Action 2021-25

Cultivating an Environment of Support

The goal of the Healthy Minds Healthy College Strategy is to cultivate an environment of support that provides a sense of well-being, belonging, connectedness and positive mental health for all students, faculty and staff to support academic and career success. Since the initiative launched in 2014, substantial work has been done. This document recognizes the strengths that are currently in place, while providing a path forward to guide the work that remains.

Fostering the development of positive mental health by supporting individual resilience, creating supportive environments and addressing the influence of the broader determinants of mental health are key components of promoting mental health.1 That is why our strategy focuses not only on building individual coping skills and encouraging help-seeking behaviour but takes a systemic approach, aiming to create interpersonal and organizational conditions that foster positive mental health. This comprehensive strategy intends to support every member of the College community at multiple levels and in ways that respect all forms of diversity. It is our way forward.

As an added challenge, this must be done within a context where the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we all learn and work. Although at first glance, it may be tempting to put mental health promotion work on hold while we await a return to usual operations, a closer look would find this unwise. COVID-19 has created rapid and unavoidable change, stress, isolation and economic disruption, which are all psychological health and safety hazards. Further, there are warnings of an “echo pandemic” of poor mental health. Thus, it is even more important that the work of creating a healthy community, conducive to positive well-being, continues.

In this new reality, the number of students and staff with “concerns about coping” (see Figure 1) is likely to increase. It’s imperative, therefore, that we use evidence-based strategies to respond to early indicators of concern and help all develop self- management competencies and coping skills.

The Roadmap does not replace previous documents (e.g., HMHC Charter), but complements and extends these while serving as a strategic guide, assisting in decision making and resource allocation.

Figure 1. Canadian Association of College and University Support Services illustrates a systemic approach to campus mental health. Please note that our strategy, though informed by this systemic approach, is expanded to include staff and faculty members.

This document outlines current campus initiatives and target areas. The current campus initiatives are an inventory of the strengths, programs and resources already in place. Target areas are opportunities for improvement. Current campus initiatives and target areas highlighted do not belong to one College department or division as we recognize that becoming a health-promoting institution requires organization-wide collaboration. The Healthy Minds Healthy College Steering Committee, however, serves as a catalyst for moving the work forward in alignment with the College’s strategic plan.

Our Senior Leadership Team endorses the actions outlined in this Roadmap as critical to advancing our mental health strategy toward the ultimate goal of being a health-promoting institution. Within a context of finite resources, endorsement of this Roadmap does not automatically ensure all resource requests will be approved, however such requests will be considered through the lens of the Roadmap. While the actions will require commitment, collaboration and investment, they will result in an engaged, vibrant workforce and student body.

1 Canadian Institute for Health Information

Background

We are grateful to the many individuals, committees and organizations that have advanced knowledge related to workplace and campus mental health. Our Roadmap is informed by the documents listed below.

  • Red River College Healthy Minds Healthy College Project Charter
  • Red River College Healthy Minds Healthy College Survey and Focus Groups Summary Report
  • Reducing Student Stress and Improving Mental Health: A Literature Review Prepared for Red River College Healthy Minds Healthy College
  • Red River College Strategic Plan: 2016-2021
  • Breaking Down Barriers: Mental Health and Canadian Post-Secondary Students, CASA
  • Understanding Mental Health and Mental Illness and Their Impacts in the Workplace, MHCC
    and Morneau Shepell
  • National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
  • Draft Standard for Psychological Health and Safety of Post-Secondary Students
  • 2013 Canadian Community Health Survey
  • Post-Secondary Student Mental Health: Guide to a Systemic Approach, CACUSS and Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Promoting Mental Health: Summary Report, World Health Organization
  • The Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges
  • Policy Approaches to Post-Secondary Student Mental Health: A Scan of Current Practice
Girls petting dog

Strategy

This section presents a scan of our current campus initiatives along with target actions within each of the seven key levels.

Institutional Structure: Organization, Planning and Policy

Current Campus Initiatives

  • Healthy Minds Healthy College Charter and Steering Committee
  • Presence of current policies related to mental health and well-being:
    • Academic Standards
    • Academic Accommodation
    • Safety
    • Violence Prevention
    • Sexual Violence
    • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
    • Discrimination and Harassment
    • Learning and Development
    • Absenteeism Management
    • Employee Impairment
    • Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities
  • Involvement of students and staff in planning via Healthy Minds Healthy College Advisory Group and Institutional Research activities

Target Action Areas 2021-25

  • Seek senior leadership endorsement of 2021-25 Roadmap
  • Develop an Institutional Statement of Commitment to the mental health of the RRC community
  • Revise the At-Risk Student Policy and implement
  • Promote broad-based training and compliance with current policies
  • Conduct a Gap Analysis to determine instances where current policies could better support mental health or where new policies could be adopted
  • Develop statement for course outline template, highlighting the impact of mental health on academic success and directing to supports
  • Implement the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
  • Support the development of and potential implementation of the National Standard for Post-Secondary Student Psychological Health and Safety

Promoting Well-Being Through Supportive, Inclusive Campus Climate

Current Campus Initiatives

  • Diversity Initiatives
  • LGBTT* Initiative
  • Indigenous Blueprint
  • Stigma reduction activities
  • No Wrong Door Initiative
  • Supportive Employment Guidelines
  • Accessibility Plan
  • Musculoskeletal and Ergonomics program

Target Action Areas 2021-25

  • Invite instructors to contribute to a supportive, inclusive community through curriculum and pedagogy that considers well-being. Bring together faculty champions to translate their experiential knowledge into formats that can be easily shared
  • Curriculum and pedagogy that considers universal design and accessibility for all learners
  • Identify additional spaces for students and staff to rest and refresh during the work day and/or enhance current spaces
  • Enhance student spaces with elements that improve well-being such as art, plants, adequate lighting, etc.
  • Educate leaders regarding Supportive Employment Guidelines
  • Conduct applied research aimed at improving well-being by reducing unnecessary stress in academic programs

Mental Health Awareness and Literacy

Current Campus Initiatives

  • Annual Thrive Week activities
  • Annual Mental Illness Awareness Week activities
  • Annual Bell Let’s Talk Day activities
  • Annual College-wide event with high quality speaker
  • In-class education on stress, anxiety, coping, self-care, wellness, etc.
  • Wellness Blog
  • Healthy Minds Healthy College website
  • Red Forum mental health- and wellness-focused sessions
  • Staff and faculty training offerings (The Working Mind, Mental Health First Aid, safeTALK)
  • Homewood Health educational resources
  • Participation in community events (e.g., World Suicide Prevention Day, She Wore Flowers in her Hair, CMHA’s Ride Don’t Hide)
  • Resource area at Notre Dame Campus with relevant pamphlets, posters, toolkits, etc.

Target Action Areas 2021-25

  • Increase staff and student engagement with the Wellness Blog – both creating and consuming content
  • Ensure a mental health information and resource area is present at each campus. This should include relevant pamphlets, posters, toolkits, etc.
  • Explore offering MHCC’s The Inquiring Mind training program for students
  • Promote National Depression Screening Day, National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day, and National Alcohol Screening Day
  • Continue to expand reach of awareness activities
  • Increase sustainability of these activities by engaging student volunteers in meaningful service learning opportunities

Community Capacity to Respond to Early Indicators of Distress

Current Campus Initiatives

  • Staff and faculty training in safeTALK suicide alertness program
  • “How to Refer to Counselling Services” presentation to faculty at their request
  • The Working Mind training for leaders
  • Information available on Anytime Anywhere Instructor Resource site
  • Consultations with members of Counselling and Accessibility Services

Target Action Areas 2021-25

  • Enhance faculty competence to notice, engage and refer students with coping challenges
  • Develop an “Early Assist/Case Management” program model and explore options for resourcing
  • Redesign Behavioural Intervention Team with a more proactive approach to preventing adverse incidents
  • Develop student peer support program model and explore options for resourcing it
  • Offer booster sessions for leaders who have completed The Working Mind training
  • Increase Anytime Anywhere Instructor Resource site usage

Self-Management Competences and Coping Skills

Current Campus Initiatives

  • Online mindfulness training for staff and students
  • Recreation Services Lunch and Learn series
  • The Working Mind program
  • THRIVE Week activities and additional workshops
  • Light therapy lamps
  • Traditional Teachings and Ceremonies through Indigenous Student Support

Target Action Areas 2021-25

  • Drive utilization of online mindfulness training, particularly by supporting instructors to integrate with curriculum
  • Promote personal development resources offered by College’s designated Employee and Family Assistance Program
  • Explore offering additional skill development programming through online tools

Accessible Mental Health Services

Current Campus Initiatives

  • Counselling and Accessibility Services
  • Health Centre
  • Student, faculty and staff extended health plans
  • Employee and Family Assistance Plan
  • Referrals facilitated by a variety of College community members, including: Mental Health Coordinator, Safety and Health Officers, International Education staff, Human Resource Consultants, Supported Employment Consultant and faculty members
  • Counsellors contracted to provide service to regional campuses
  • Health Services at Notre Dame Campus

Target Action Areas 2021-25

  • Assess Counselling and Accessibility Services model. Consider revising to include drop-in counselling
  • Ensure adequate Counselling and Accessibility Services staffing in order to reduce wait times
  • Explore offering e-mental health services and options for resourcing
  • Ensure multiple types and levels of support are offered
  • Work with International Education to reduce international student barriers to mental health services
  • Streamline referral process between mental health services and other campus resources and offices
  • Continue to enhance intercultural competence in service delivery
  • Where gaps exist, expand on-campus services or establish links to resources in the community (e.g., psychological, psychiatric, medical, group counselling services)
  • Establish Health Centre presence at Exchange District Campus

Crisis Management

Current Campus Initiatives

  • Critical incident support
  • Security Services
  • Same Day Crisis Service at Notre Dame and Exchange District Campus Counselling Centres
  • Behavioural Intervention Team

Target Action Areas 2021-25

  • Enhance crisis response capacity though Health Centre/Counselling Services collaboration
  • Enhance community partnerships and referral processes to 24/7 crisis supports
  • Develop Threat Assessment Team
  • Broad campus training for staff and faculty regarding emergency procedures and crisis response
  • Create a Critical Incident Stress Management response team to support staff

Initial Priorities

After consultation with internal and external stakeholders, we have determined the following to be the initial priorities.

Institutional Structure: Organization, Planning and Policy

TargetSponsorImplemented ByCOVID-19 Considerations
Seek senior leadership endorsement of 2021-25 Roadmap.N/AHMHC Steering CommitteeCompleted
Implement the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, including a statement of commitment and policy.Chief Human Resource OfficerDirector, Safety and Health Services
Mental Health Coordinator
Increased importance
Develop statement for course outline template, highlighting the impact of mental health on academic success and directing to supports.Executive Director, AcademicMental Health CoordinatorCompleted

Promoting Well-being Through Supportive, Inclusive Campus Climate

TargetSponsorImplemented ByCOVID-19 Considerations
Identify additional spaces for students and staff to rest and refresh during the work day and/or enhance current spaces.Chief Human Resource Officer
Executive Director, Red River College Students’ Association
TBDIn the current context, ensuring adequate socially distanced study space takes priority.
Conduct applied research and evaluation aimed at improving student well-being and retention.Executive Director, Strategy and CommunicationsInstitutional Analysis and Planning
Mental Health Coordinator
Increased importance

Mental Health Awareness and Literacy

TargetSponsorImplemented ByCOVID-19 Considerations
Ensure a mental health information and resources area is present at each campus. This should include relevant pamphlets, posters, toolkits, etc.Executive Director, Red River College Students’ AssociationMental Health CoordinatorInstead of on-campus physical spaces, information and resources should be distributed electronically, using a variety of mediums.

Community Capacity to Respond to Early Indicators of Distress

TargetSponsorImplemented ByCOVID-19 Considerations
Redesign Behavioural Intervention Team with a proactive approach to preventing adverse incidents.Chief Human Resource Officer
Executive Director, Community and Student Services
Director, Safety and Health Services
Manager, Counselling and Accessibility Services
Redesign must consider processes needed during remote delivery.
Develop an “Early Assist” program or case management model to provide outreach and support service coordination to at-risk students.Executive Director, Community and Student ServicesManager, Counselling and Accessibility ServicesDevelopment must consider processes and strategies during remote delivery.
Explore offering e-mental health services to students and options for resourcing.Executive Director, Community and Student ServicesMental Health CoordinatorCompleted

Self-Management Competences and Coping Skills

TargetSponsorImplemented ByCOVID-19 Considerations
Drive utilization of online mindfulness training, particularly by supporting instructors to integrate with curriculum.Executive Director, AcademicMental Health CoordinatorIncreased importance

Accessible Mental Health Services

TargetSponsorImplemented ByCOVID-19 Considerations
Assess Counselling and Accessibility Services model. Consider revising to include drop-in counselling and internship program.Executive Director Community and Student ServicesManager, Counselling and Accessibility Services
Work with International Education to reduce international student barriers to mental health services.Executive Director, Community and Student ServicesManager, Counselling and Accessibility Services
Director, Centre for International Education and Global Partnerships
Ensure adequate Counselling and Accessibility Services staffing in order to reduce wait times.Executive Director, Community and Student ServicesManager, Counselling and Accessibility Services

Crisis Management

TargetSponsorImplemented ByCOVID-19 Considerations
Create a Critical Incident Stress Management response team to support staff.Chief Human Resource OfficerTBDIncreased importance

Credits

The report was prepared by the Healthy Minds Healthy College Steering Committee.

Additional guidance was provided by the Healthy Minds Healthy College Advisory Group, which is comprised of staff, students and faculty who care deeply about mental health.

We thank our Senior Leadership Sponsors Aileen Nadjuch (Executive Director, Community and Student Services) and Melanie Gudmundson (Chief Human Resource Officer).