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

Campus Initiative

Training Youth to Tackle the Transition to Postsecondary Education – NEW MHIF

The transition from high school to postsecondary education is one of the most difficult developmental challenges for youth. Knowing that the demographic of 15-24 year olds are at risk for mental distress and potential suicidal ideation, it is essential for transitioning students to build resilience and a repertoire of coping strategies to adequately prepare them for adult life.

A pilot project was launched in 2012-2013 by Lambton College to address the mental health concerns of secondary school students transitioning beyond high school. Called, “From Tension to Triumph”, a select group of college students designed and implemented a 70 minute assembly with a follow-up in-class presentation on the challenges that impact mental health during the transition phase, the development of awareness of signs of mental distress, and how to strengthen internal and external sources of support. This innovative approach leverages the experience of peers making the message more appealing and realistic for youth. The goal is to normalize stress so students do not feel alone, reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems, and to encourage students to seek help before a crisis occurs. Lambton College, in conjunction with King’s University College at Western University, is building upon this model and designing a curriculum that that links postsecondary students with senior secondary school students to strengthen mental health in the transition phase beyond high school. The ultimate goal of this project is to replicate the curriculum and provide for province-wide implementation of the “From Tension to Triumph” program by invested and trained regional college and university students.

Project Contact:

Charlene Mahon

Professor of Psychology/ MHIF Project Lead
Lambton College

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