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President’s Task Force on Student Mental Health

Through the President’s Task Force on Student Mental Health, the University of Guelph is making student mental health a priority across the entire institution. Our whole-of-the-University approach will define U of G as a leader in this field and will directly benefit students, their immediate circle of support and the institution.

Task Force Goals

The Student Mental Health Task Force aims to:

  1. Develop a University of Guelph student mental health action plan for presentation to the University President by the end of fall 2023.
  2. Use this plan to meet current and future student mental health needs.

Task Force Deliverables

Through its work, the task force will:

  1. Develop a process allowing stakeholders and key community members to help inform the development of a University of Guelph student mental health strategic plan.
  2. Conduct a rapid review of post-secondary student mental health literature to determine risk and protective factors.
  3. Analyze current U of G data related to student mental health.
  4. Scan peer post-secondary institutions and student mental health organizations for current practices regarding student mental health on campus.
  5. Build on theUniversity of Guelph Mental Health Framework (2016). Identify existing frameworks and initiatives that can be used and built upon when assessing University of Guelph student mental health activities.
  6. Conduct a scan and map all student mental health programs, initiatives, research and classroom and teaching strategies currently in place at the University.
  7. Summarize evaluations of student mental health programs and initiatives currently delivered at the University.
  8. Identify gaps and inconsistencies with accepted standards regarding post-secondary student mental health.
  9. Identify how student mental health can become a focal point for the University.
  10. Write and present a plan to the University President that can establish a framework and recommendations on how the University of Guelph can be a leader in promoting student mental health.

Task Force Leadership

The task force is led by a team of experts from within the University.

Primary Team

Andrew Papadopoulos

Dr. Andrew Papadopoulos, Professor and Coordinator of Master of Public Health Program (Co-Chair)

Dr. Andrew Papadopoulos is a professor and coordinator, MPH, at the University of Guelph. Much of Andrew’s research focuses on student mental health, public health policy and administration, health communication, and the organization and delivery of public health education.

As the co-investigator for the National College Health Assessment, Andrew has collaborated with the Student Education Wellness Centre and various M.Sc. and PhD students on analyzing student mental health at the University of Guelph and other post-secondary institutions across Canada. He has published on many aspects of student mental health, including stress that impacts academics and how social and psychological capital impacts mental health.

The former executive director of the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (Ontario), Andrew has over 15 years of experience working in local public health. He chairs the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools, and is the past chair of the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health and the Canadian Network of Schools and Programs of Public and Population Health.

Alison Burnett

Alison Burnett, Director, Student Wellness Services (Co-Chair)

Alison Burnett is the director of Student Wellness at the University of Guelph. During her time at U of G, Alison has overseen the integration of seven individual units into one department with an integrated service delivery model.

Alison has participated and chaired several mental health working groups at the University including the Advisory Committee for Student Mental Health, the Crisis Response Committee and the Mental Health Training Committee.

Having served as lead investigator for the National College Health Assessment survey for the University of Guelph, Alison also collaborates with units across campus in utilizing data to inform programming and service delivery.

Alison has spent the last 20 years working primarily within student health and well-being in the post-secondary sector. Earlier, she worked as a nurse in an in-patient psychiatry unit at a downtown Toronto hospital.

This initiative will also be supported by the chief of staff to the president, research assistants and various engagement partners.

Timelines

The task force’s work aims to follow the timeline below.

  • Winter 2023 – launch of task force
  • Winter through spring 2023 – information gathering and analysis of current state
  • Summer 2023 – creation of student mental health action plan
  • Fall 2023 – presentation of plan to University community
  • Fall 2023 and onward – implementation of the plan

Whole-of-the-University approach

A whole-of-the-University approach integrates mental health into every aspect of University life, from design of curricula and assessments to the built environment. It includes the full spectrum from prevention through programs, services and care. This approach examines how a mental health lens can be applied to new and existing policies and procedures.

Contact

Questions about the Student Mental Health Task Force and its work may be sent to mentalhealth.taskforce@uoguelph.ca