Almost one-third of post-secondary students are diagnosed or treated for anxiety or depression according to the most recent statistics from Canada’s National College Health Assessment Survey.
Supporting students who are struggling and providing tools to help improve mental health on campus are both goals of MacEwan University’s Changing Minds program, which launched in March 2018.
While there’s no question mental health is an issue for post-secondary students, they’re certainly not alone. Now the university is introducing a new component of Changing Minds: a mental health workshop for faculty and staff that introduces the mental health continuum, dispels myths and introduces ways to recognize symptoms of declining mental health in ourselves and others.
The goal is to make our campus a safe and supportive place, whether you study or work here, says MacEwan President Deborah Saucier.
“The Inquiring Mind and the Working Mind workshops give us a common language and strategies, and help us make sure we are all on the same page,” she says. “Ultimately, the entire Changing Minds program is rooted in something our university community truly values: kindness. It’s about creating a culture of inclusion and making sure our students, faculty and staff are empowered to support one another.”
MacEwan mental health program primer
The Working Mind is a half-day education program from the Mental Health Commission of Canada designed for employees to reduce stigma and increase resilience.
The Inquiring Mind covers much of the same materials, but was designed specifically for post-secondary students. MacEwan has been offering the Inquiring Mind since March 2018.
Both programs are key parts of Changing Minds, a MacEwan University mental health campaign.
The Working Mind will be facilitated by staff and faculty from across the university, including Claudine Drefs, a nurse educator in the Faculty of Nursing.
“Reducing the stigma around mental health starts with awareness, but we also need to have the courage to follow through,” says Claudine. “How great would it be to come to MacEwan — as a student or an employee — and trust the people here enough to know that there is always someone looking out for you? That if you’re struggling, you could feel safe enough to say that you’re going through a really hard time? That if you don’t seem yourself one day, someone will ask, ‘Are you okay?’”
Staff, faculty and students can register for either the Working Mind or the Inquiring Mind workshops through MacEwanLife. The first Working Mind workshop will be offered on January 31.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.