York University approved a comprehensive mental health strategy focusing on fostering student academic success and a better workplace to create a mentally healthy campus, the post-secondary institution announced Tuesday, May 14.
Over the next 18 months, the newly formed mental health steering committee will work on policy development, building awareness of campus resources and promoting the new software Moodle training program Mental Health EDU, an online 20-minute mental health program designed to assist faculty and staff in understanding how to help students in distress using an approach that fits their individual comfort levels.
“In any given year, one in five Canadians will experience a diagnosable mental health problem or illness,” Mamdouh Shoukri, York’s president and vice-chancellor, said in a release. “We are taking a leadership role in the creation of a healthy university that advances early detection and health promotion.”
York seeks to move from the more traditional response of providing care after a mental health crisis has arisen to a more proactive, preventative approach of building a healthy community by addressing pressures before they reach a crisis stage.
Long-term goals will be achieved through leadership commitment, assessing current systems, developing policies and procedures that respond to community needs, expanding the university’s capacity to support mental health, and reinforcing existing and developing new partnerships to collaborate on a coordinated response, York said.