News / Calgary

University of Calgary makes headway on mental health strategy

After one year the school has made headway on more than 26 of their 28 mental health initiatives, and checked some of them off completely

Andrew Szeto took the responsibility for leading the implementation of the Campus Mental Health Strategy launched in December 2015.

Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Andrew Szeto took the responsibility for leading the implementation of the Campus Mental Health Strategy launched in December 2015.

It’s time for the University of Calgary to pause and think about mental health.

The post-secondary's bold mental health strategy was launched more than a year ago and the school has been keeping busy working through 28 recommendations in the hefty document. These would help the U of C improve mental health for its community as well as create a caring campus.

Writing and approving the strategy was one thing, now, as a year has passed, the community is concentrated on implementing their mental health directives.

"We've put the foundational pieces in place," said Andrew Szeto director of the Campus Mental Health Strategy. "We've done a lot in a year. Out of 28 recommendations, about 26 of them are in progress and several have been fulfilled already."

He rhymes off some highlights, one of which includes increasing access for mental health services. Students now have access to 24-hour service and can get connected with help at whatever time they need it.

"We are working with our campus architects to create spaces on campus more conducive to mental health," Szeto said "A lot of times people think about mental health in reference to other people, but not necessarily about spaces, but we know physical spaces affect people's mental health."

On Tuesday, the U of C dedicated an entire day to bring awareness to mental health. They hosted Olympian and mental health advocate Clara Hughes to address students, and there was a wellness fair event.

"When I talk to people across campus, everyone is excited to talk about mental health, but a lot of people don't know the resources that exist on campus," Szeto said. "We need to get the word out there a little bit more to more optimally use the resources on campus."

Szeto said the U of C campus mental health strategy is unique in Canada. It’s especially different because it considers the campus community as a whole, not just students.

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