The Commission met with the university’s Mental Health Working Group and with Mike Condra, Director of Health, Counselling and Disability Services.
The group discussed student surveys and other data available (residence, Peer Support program), studentuse/non-use of current services, the various transitions that students experience (home to first-year, residence to living on your own, undergraduate to graduate, new country and culture in the case of international students) and the supports that are need to set students on the path to success. Members of the working group will work with the Commission on a student survey.
Dr. Condra talked about trends in mental health, how to promote a healthy environment, education, training, awareness-raising, how to increase help-seeking behavior and the excellent links Queen’s has with resources in the Kingston community.
The Commission met with members of the ASUS executive and members of the SGPS executive.
The discussion with ASUS included prevention, education, the use of videos, workshops, the role of the Orientation leader, perceptions of the “ideal” Queen’s student, the benefits of pets/animals, how best to encourage people to seek support and the needs of international students.
The Commission and the SGPS talked about the Society’s student advisor program, the need for graduate and professional student-geared counseling, the needs of international students, the relationship between astudent and their supervisor, gaps in leave and benefits policies, the need for mentor programs, graduate orientation and the overall stressors in modern society.
The Commission spoke with Kelsey Paterson, President of the Commerce Society (ComSoc) and Hagar Akua Prah, Student Advisor/Counsellor, Diversity Programs.
Ms Paterson spoke about the resources and services offered to students by both the program and ComSoc and the Society’s focus this year on mental health awareness, including the ongoing Queen’s Wears Green initiative.
Ms Akua Prah talked about her role supporting students in crisis and the benefits of having outreach counselors in even a few areas of campus (e.g. residence), the importance of clubs and the LGBT commnity’s particular vulnerabilities and needs.
The Commission met with a PhD student in rehab therapy who works in the community and a second year OT student. Topics of discussion included student attitudes and stigma, the impact of “lived experience”, when you meet and talk to someone living with mental illness, and possible small-group education programs and opportunities.
The Commission met with a member of the community who spoke about his personal and family experiences with mental illness and emphasized the need for one-on-one support for students that is offered by someone who has gone through the same thing.
The Commission also met with community-based social worker Trish Crowe, who talked about how Kingston residents can help students connect to the broader community and the need to provide better public access to a list ofcommunity resources and professionals.