As published on the Queen's News Centre , September 19, 2011.
Principal Daniel Woolf has established a Commission on Mental Health at Queen’s that will make recommendations next spring towards a university strategy to enhance supports for students in need.
“Student mental health is a serious and growing issue at universities and colleges in Canada and around the world, including Queen’s,” says Principal Woolf. “The commission will look at trends, best practices, and how student mental health needs are currently being addressed. As a community, we must strive to be proactive in seeking to provide a teaching and learning environment that supports our students in all facets of their lives, including their mental health. This commission is an important additional step in this ongoing process.”
The commission will be chaired by Dr. David Walker, former Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and a Professor of Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, and Policy Studies. The commission’s members are:
• Ann Tierney, Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs;
• Dr. Lynann Clapham, Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science;
• Dr. Jennifer Medves, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of the School of Nursing;
• Roy Jahchan, MPA '11 / Law '13.
“The commission members are all dedicated to contributing to this critically important issue on our campus,” says Dr. Walker. “We look forward to hearing a full range of opinions and advice from the Queen’s community, and especially from students.”
The commission will be setting up a website and soliciting input and information from the community in the coming weeks.
The university has had a Mental Health Working Group in place since 2007 and many initiatives and programs are underway. The commission will take an overarching and comprehensive approach that includes how to promote an inclusive and healthy environment, how to raise awareness and reduce stigma, how to lessen the risk of harm and what supports and resources may be required to best support students.
“Student mental health is a growing issue and it’s important to do all we can to help students prepare for and cope with the stresses of university life as well as respond effectively to those who get overwhelmed,” says Mr. Jahchan. “I think this initiative will make a real difference and I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate.”