Student Mental Health Strategy

The Student Mental Health Strategy is a framework to provide direction for the Division of Student Affairs and the broader university community to comprehensively and proactively review resources and opportunities for mental health promotion, planning, and responsiveness in support of our student community. It is intended as a framework for the development and implementation of action plans to support positive student mental health and well-being in order to enhance all students’ potential for success.

Through specific goals, strategies, and recommendations this plan is designed to help:

  • eliminate barriers;
  • build more supportive and inclusive campus environments and services;
  • attract and retain students; and
  • reduce and eliminate stigma surrounding student mental health issues.

This strategy builds on evidence-based research and best practices across the continuum of well-being and care and offers a comprehensive plan for transforming our approach to student mental health.

The strategy is also available for download as a PDF.

Goals

To help achieve the university’s broader vision, mission, and values as set out in the University of Victoria Strategic Plan (A Vision for the Future, Building on Excellence - 2012), this plan focuses on four primary goals specifically related to optimizing student mental health:

  1. Embed student mental health policy within institutional strategic planning 
  2. Build a more welcoming, connected and supportive university community
  3. Enhance the university community’s ability to support students who may be at-risk
  4. Enhance supports for students who are experiencing distress or in crisis

Guiding Principles

The following principles are informed and guided by the collaborative work of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services’ (CACUSS) Post-Secondary Student Mental Health Strategy committees. These principles help shape and reinforce our commitment to student mental health and well-being within our campus communities.

  1. Mental health and well-being is imperative to all students':
    • academic and personal success;
    • personal growth and identity development;
    • ability to reach their potential; and
    • full and meaningful participation in all aspects of life.
  1. We acknowledge and celebrate differences and model inclusivity. Many factors impact student mental health and well-being including: physical, emotional, cultural, and spiritual. Building strong relationships, communities, and support services foster meaningful connection, respect, and a culture of belonging.
  1. A holistic and comprehensive approach to student mental health is imperative; all university community members have an impact and a role to play in supporting students including students assisting and supporting each other.
  1. Students should be provided with opportunities to share their knowledge and life experiences and UVic should be a place where students know that they are safe, respected, and valued.
  1. Through targeted and accessible programs, services and supports students can better achieve their academic and personal goals and maintain their well-being throughout university experience.

Acknowledgments

  • National Post-Secondary Student Mental Health Strategy Committee
  • Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS)
  • Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
  • University of Victoria Mental Health Task Force
  • Healthy Minds/Healthy Campuses - Canadian Mental Health Association - BC

The University of Victoria - Student Mental Health Strategy is informed and guided by:

  • University of Victoria Strategic Plan - “A Vision for the Future - Building on Excellence” - through the university’s commitment to inclusivity, diversity, equal rights, fairness, removing barriers and accommodation. Intended outcomes for the various objectives and strategies included in this plan also correspond with the university’s strategic plan.
  • University of Victoria Student Affairs ‘Vision, Mission and Values’ - through the Division of Student Affairs’ commitment to develop and deliver a transformational experience for students by providing integrated and comprehensive support services to our diverse campus community.
  • Canadian Mental Health Strategy - through complementing and supporting the Canadian Mental Health Strategy by defining a comprehensive approach to improving mental health and wellbeing that targets post-secondary students.
  • British Columbia - ‘Healthy Minds Healthy People’ - through mental health promotion, stigma reduction, substance use harm reduction goals for British Columbians.
  • Association of University and Colleges in Canada - Mental Health: A Guide and Checklist for Presidents - through alignment with AUCC guidelines and key considerations for leading an institutional response to student mental health concerns.
  • Canadian Association of College & University Student Services and Canadian Mental Health Association - through building on and implementing CACUSS’s Post-Secondary Student Mental Health Guide to a Systematic Approach.
  • Council for Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) Standards and Guidelines - through ensuring that our mental health priorities and strategies are informed and guided by high, internationally recognized standards, guidelines and practices.