It Takes a Whole Campus… Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being for College and University Students

on December 07, 2011

by Michelle C.

Did you know that 89% of college and university students feel overwhelmed by all they have to do? Over half feel that things are hopeless, and more than one third of students feel depressed. Imagine a lecture hall filled with students: nearly all of them are experiencing challenges with their mental well-being!

75% of all mental disorders begin before age 24 and that’s not surprising given the levels of distress students are feeling in college and university. The Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division, recognizes that improving mental well-being among college and university students is crucial. On November 18th and 19th, I attended their Healthy Minds Healthy Campuses Summit. At this event, students, university and college staff, health professionals, researchers and policymakers came together to talk about campus mental health promotion and the role everyone plays in building a mentally healthy campus.

Students are facing tremendous amounts of stress during college and university dealing with course work, living away from home, financial stress, and growing responsibilities. From the presentations and discussions at the summit, it’s clear that there isn’t a magic bullet solution. In order to create campuses that support the mental well-being of all students, everyone on campus needs to realize that they can make a difference. From classroom learning environments, to the physical space on campus, to the social interactions with faculty and staff, the whole campus community has a role to play.

By the end of the summit, participants were bursting with new ideas to bring back to their campuses. The event helped to build momentum for the work already being done on campuses in BC. It also reminded us of the importance of creating healthy, supportive learning environments for college and university students during this important transition time in their lives.

For more information about the Healthy Minds Healthy Campuses Initiative, visit http://www.cmha.bc.ca/advocacy/campus_project.

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BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Provincial Health Services Authority

Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is one of six health authorities – the other five health authorities serve geographic regions of BC.

Ministry of Health

British Columbia Ministry of Health

RBC Children's Mental Health Project

RBC Children’s Mental Health Project is RBC's cornerstone “health and wellness” pillar; RBC Children’s Mental Heath Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support community-based and hospital programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and increase public awareness about children’s mental health issues.

BC Children's Hospital Foundation

Through a wide range of fundraising events and opportunities, The BC Children's Hospital Foundation is united with its donors by a single, simple passion - to improve the health and the lives of the young people who enter BC Children's Hospital every day.