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

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Caring Campus Toolkit

The Caring Campus Project was developed at Queen’s University and expanded to Dalhousie University and the University of Calgary to address topics of mental health and substance misuse, particularly in freshmen males, in an effort to make campuses a more supportive, caring, and inclusive environment for everybody. The Caring Campus Project uses a community empowerment ideology to allow young male students to explore how masculine ideals may promote substance misuse, and to warn them that substance misuse can undermine their mental health. It recognizes a culture of ‘maleness’ with shared beliefs, knowledge, attitudes, social actions, language, and interactions with others.

This toolkit is designed to assist other post-secondary institutions in addressing substance misuse and mental health problems within their campuses using the Caring Campus model. Although this model has been tested in three university campuses and was designed to target first year men, the approaches developed are equally applicable to young men and women in any post-secondary institution. As well, some of the approaches used may be fruitfully adapted for use with other  populations such as high school youth.

The toolkit includes:

  1. Substance Use Wellness Tool
  2. A ‘Summit’ Approach to student engagement
  3. Developing messages for a Social Norms campaign
  4. Contact-based education with lived-experienced individuals
  5. Program sustainability

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