Helping Ontario's colleges and universities enhance capacity to support student mental health and well-being

Campus Initiative

Rural Northern Access Hub – MHIF (Round 1)

Project Summary:

The Mental Health Hub was developed as a model for Northern Colleges to ensure their students have access to mental health services that address prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and crisis service needs that are unavailable in the community due to low available resources. As the Northern colleges have high percentages of students who are Aboriginal, this includes culturally appropriate services such as an Elder-in-Residence program, and alternative methods of treatment such as ceremonies, sweats, and art programming.

Partnerships that were established include:

  • Pan Northern Project
  • Algoma University
  • Algoma District and Huron Superior Catholic District School Boards
  • Sault Area Hospital
  • Canadian Mental Health Association
  • St. John’s Ambulance

Key Outcomes: 

  1. Formation of internal Hub model, including staffing requirements and job descriptions, that addresses education and prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and crisis response. Additional staffing requirements include Psychologists, a Mental Health Educator, Manager/Supervisor, Mental Health Counsellor, and Aboriginal Elders.
  2. Streamlined assessment and referral services both internally and externally that allow students to receive timely, culturally appropriate access to mental health services.
  3. Elder-in-Residence program established, providing two Elders (one of each gender) to students for activities and ceremonies involving traditional Aboriginal approaches. A Traditional Healer is also on campus once per semester.
  4. Through a partnership formed with C.M.H.A., an on-site Mental Health Educator provides education and prevention initiatives throughout the college, working with the Sault College Student Union, program areas, support staff, and community partners to enhance programming and reach.
  5. Training programs established, providing opportunities for staff, faculty, and students several times throughout the academic year to participate in Mental Health First Aid and SafeTALK training at no charge. Additional trainings were designed and implemented by the Mental Health Educator for specific program areas to address issues such as impairment in the shops/labs, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma, and self-care.
  6. Student Services collaborated with the Library to acquire mental health/illness resources such as software, books, workbook materials, and video/media for students, staff, and faculty to have access to.

Reports & Resources:

The Hub project received continued funding through the MHIF for two additional years. Final reports/resources will be available upon completion of the project.

PowerPoint from Campus Exchange Event

Project Contact:

Matt Trainor

Director of Student Services
Sault College

Morgan Levy

Supervisor, Mental Health Hub & Mental Health Counsellor
Sault College

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