Provost releases mental health report

Report evaluates initiatives set forward by the Principal in 2012

The University is developing a plan to expand its mental health resources on campus, according to a report released by the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health (PACMH) in June.

PACMH released its first annual report since its creation in the 2013-14 school year, which evaluates the progress of over 100 mental health initiatives first outlined in the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health (PCMH) roughly two years ago.

Some of the major initiatives on the report are the establishment of an exam centre, which would consolidate all midterm and final exam locations into one building, and the creation of a division of Student Mental Health and Addictions within the Department of Psychiatry. Another is the establishment of a new Student Health and Wellness Centre.

The report said there’s been discussion about establishing a new Health and Wellness Centre in the Physical Education Centre in order to have a “central and visible” location on campus, which the report said would then lead to destigmatization of and improved access to health services.

The initiatives fall under a quad-leveled pyramid approach, which consists of promoting a healthy community; transitions and resilience; encouraging help-seeking and helping behavior; and effective response, service and care.

The report is in response to the 2013 National College Health Assessment (NCHA), which it said “gives the University a comprehensive and accurate picture of student health and wellness”.

In the NCHA student survey, 80.9 per cent of respondents from Queen’s said they’d consider seeking help from a mental health professional in the future — higher than the total Canadian average of 74 per cent.

The PCMH was originally responsible for the oversight of mental health initiatives, but in Nov. 2012 they recommended the mental health commission be under the portfolio of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Alan Harrison.

According to PCMH’s final report in 2012, Harrison’s position was best to provide guidance to implement the report’s recommendations.

Since the report was released in June, Deputy Provost and PACMH Chair Laeeque Daneshmend said the committee has distributed classroom referral slides to faculty members, which are to be displayed to their classes throughout the year.

The committee also worked on the Acculturation and Transition to Life and Academic Success program, an early move-in program for international students.

“We have tripled the capacity of the Q Success transition program so that more than 300 first-years are participating this fall,” Daneshmend told the Journal via email.

The report said multiple new initiatives and programs have been introduced within Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS), such as Bounce Back, QSuccess, anti-stigma workshops in residence and SOAR to help students overcome their stress and anxiety.

Daneshmend said PACMH collaborates with other student groups such as Athletics and Recreation to promote student wellness.

“The fact that the majority of Queen’s respondents aren’t meeting the recommended weekly physical activity minimum standard aligns with Athletics and Recreation’s ongoing ‘Get Your 150’ campaign,” he said.

The PACMH plans to have metric data and analysis of HCDS’s performance in their 2015 annual report.


Health, Mental

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