Caring Campus Project
Queen’s University professor Heather Stuart (Public Health Sciences) is the $1M Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair, the first research chair in the world dedicated to the fight against the stigma around mental illness. As part of her work, Dr. Stuart is leading the national Caring Campus Project funded by Movember Canada, along with Shu-Ping Chen, and Terry Krupa.
This three-year initiative aims to reduce risks associated with mental ill health and substance misuse among first-year male students, and create a more supportive campus environment. The program is helping students learn about mental wellness and safe substance use patterns, correct misperceptions about substance use norms, and promote student-driven and led activities to raise awareness of the importance of early identification and intervention.
Male freshmen are particularly vulnerable to substance misuse linked to mental ill health during their first year at university. Research shows they experience more stressors during their transition from family life to independence, and are more likely to use substances to relieve stress, anxiety, or depression. This may place them at higher risk for mental health problems, mental illnesses, suicide, and substance abuse disorders.
The program will be piloted at Queen’s University, then expand to University of Calgary (Keith Dobson) and Dalhousie University (Michael Teehan and Sherry Stewart). The project is funded by Movember Canada.
The program will help students learn about mental wellness and safe substance use patterns; will correct misperceptions about substance use norms; and promote student – driven and led activities to raise awareness of the importance of early identification and intervention. Opportunities for active engagement and dialogue will be a central component.
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Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair