Concurrent Sessions

Session details for Tuesday November 3, 2020

Nov 3, Day 1

7:30 am – 9:00 am

Registration / Networking

Breakout Rooms

9:00 am – 9:30 am

Opening Ceremonies

Welcome Address
Master of Ceremonies

Opening Remarks
Marija Padjen, Director CICMH
Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario

Special Guest Speaker

Plenary Room

9:30 am – 11:00 am

Keynote Address

Francoise Mathieu, M.Ed., CCC. RP., Executive Director, TEND

Title of Keynote Address Appears Here

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Plenary Room

11:00 am – 11:30 am


Breakout Rooms

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Concurrent Sessions | A1 – A5

A1 Top Ten Ways to Rock the Rainbow

Students from all backgrounds who identify as part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community face the stressors of marginalization, in addition to the common stressors of university life. Studies report proportionately higher incidences of anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance use and suicidality in this population. Thankfully, feelings of connection, caring and safety are protective factors that can improve the health and well-being of 2SLGBTQ+ students.

We can all do something to become more “queer competent” to improve the wellness and campus experience of 2SLGBTQ+ students and staff. In this workshop, participants will learn ten ways to improve inclusion for 2SLGBTQ+ people. They will have the opportunity to learn new terminology, to challenge their cis- and hetero-normative assumptions and to hear personal and organizational stories. Resources will also be provided for further reference

Declan Frampton, BSc. | Ontario Tech University BIO
Bonne Pedota, B.A., B.Ed. | Ontario Tech UniversityBIO

A2 Elevating the Youth Voice During COVID-19 and Beyond

At, they know that young people’s experiences as students afford them expertise and unique knowledge about mental health systems. It’s part of the reason why they develop their annual Youth Voice Report, a tool that assesses the state of youth mental health in Canada, with their young leaders’ perspectives at its centre. When COVID-19 emerged in Canada in February 2020, it revealed existing and new gaps and opportunities in Canada’s mental health systems. During this workshop, the presenters will be discussing key findings from Jack. org’s Youth Voice Report and youth engagement work during COVID-19 that have brought to light the challenges and opportunities for youth mental health in Canada during this global crisis. They’ll also discuss youth engagement through the lens of participants’ own campus communities and brainstorm potential strategies, barriers, and resources in collaborating with students and engaging their voices in this work, so that participants have tools to strategize for youth mental health during COVID-19 and beyond.

Ellie Avishai | BIO
Sadia Fazelyar | BIO
Holly Stanczak | BIO

A3 Harm Reduction During COVID-19

Post-secondary institutions across the country switched to delivering online classes and employed physical distancing measures to protect students from the spread of COVID-19, but these measures had deleterious effects on secondary health outcomes (e.g. mental health outcomes) that also needed to be addressed and promoted. For example,
early research showed that physical distancing increased substance use behaviour among young people. This was compounded by the fact that harm reduction resource capacity was decreased, a lack of clarity around harm reduction best practice, and a change in specific substance use risk in light of COVID-19 (with some substances that affect the respiratory system higher risk). The University of Toronto addressed these concerns by building out resources that provided:

  1. Clear harm reduction advice that respected physical distancing
  2. A method of monitoring substance use behaviour to gauge when use becomes misuse, abuse, or addiction
  3. Connections to off-campus trainings and resources


Swati Naidu | University of Toronto BIO
Pratik Nair | University of Toronto BIO

A4 Integrating Undergraduate Students’ Voices in Campus Mental Health Promotion Strategies

Post-secondary institutions are an ideal setting to promote the optimal mental health and well-being of this population. Yet, students are often excluded from institutional needs assessments, making it difficult to determine if the services offered on-campus truly align with students’ needs. This interactive workshop presents the findings of a qualitative study conducted at the University of Guelph from nearly 40 participants. Results explore how post-secondary students’ perceptions of factors contributing to stress compare to the views of staff who provide services for students at the institution. Findings will emphasize the student perspective in identifying facilitators and barriers to current service provision and will present on strategies suggested to better meet students’ mental health needs on campus.

Konrad Lisnyj | University of Guelph BIO
Dr. Andrew Papadopoulos | University of Guelph BIO
Dr. David Pearl | University of Guelph BIO
Dr. Jennifer McWhirter | University of Guelph BIO

A5 University of Waterloo’s Undergraduate Course on Mental Health Literacy

In Winter 2020, the University of Waterloo launched its first undergraduate course on Mental Health Literacy so that students could earn a credit for learning about mental health self-care and support for others. In this session, the presenters describe the design and evaluation of AHS 105: Mental Health Literacy which is offered through the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences and available to undergraduate students in all six Faculties. In AHS 105, students designed, implemented, and evaluated their own Personal Mental Wellness Plan. Working in small groups, students designed and implemented a project aimed at addressing one aspect of mental health in their campus community. With ethics approval, the presenters conducted a study measuring indicators of students’ mental health literacy (e.g., attitudes toward help-seeking) at the start and end of the course (N = 37). They will report their findings along with student feedback on University of Waterloo’s first mental health literacy course for credit.

Konrad Lisnyj | University of Guelph BIO
Dr. Andrew Papadopoulos | University of Guelph BIO

Breakout Rooms

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm


Breakout Rooms

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Concurrent Sessions | B1 – B6

B1 Soins de Santé Mentale Virtuelle sur les Campus

Session description coming soon.

Giovanni Arcuri | Université McGill BIO

B2 Going Beyond the Status Quo to Reach Underserved Students

What happens when we realize that doing what we’ve always done prevents us from reaching the people who really need help? In this workshop, learn how to take a students-as-partners approach to meeting the mental health needs of underserved students in our campus communities through a lens of cultural humility. Drawing on Ramsey and Latting’s (2005) typology of intergroup competencies, Martinez-Cola’s (2020) conception of White mentors in the academy, and French et al.’s (2020) framework of radical healing in communities of colour, workshop participants will identify their purpose for engaging these students in their mental health program or service – reactive, proactive, or evaluative – and develop tangible next steps that promote positive student mental health through cultural safety.

Samira Adus | Western University BIO
Dr. Melanie-Anne Atkins | Western University BIO
Yuelee Khoo | Western University BIO

B3 Finding Work After Graduation: Mental Health Challenges, Barriers, and Solutions

During this session, the presenter will discuss how employment precariousness and unemployment impact the mental health and overall well-being of new graduates transitioning to full-time employment. More specifically, she will discuss findings from a recent study revealing that experiencing unemployment or precarious employment has a significant negative impact on career and financial identity, work self-efficacy, mental health, and overall well-being. Her conclusions will help bridge the existing gap in understanding the aspects of precarious employment that are relevant to mental health outcomes. She will provide recommendations for overcoming the challenges and barriers and will also discuss the important implications for the development of employment programs and interventions, initiatives, and policies, so as to ensure new graduates are not at risk of poor well-being and mental health problem.

Dr. Maureen Drysdale | St. Jerome’s University and University of Waterloo BIO

B4 Embedding Youth Voice in the Mental Health System

Youth engagement is an active ongoing process that empowers young people as valuable partners in addressing and making decisions that affect them personally and/or that they believe to be important. Within the mental health and education sector, youth engagement improves the care experience of young people by using a whole community approach and an active ongoing process that embeds youth voice at all levels.

The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health (the Centre) has supported child and youth mental health (CYMH) agencies and communities in Ontario to imbed youth voice into the CYMH system not only to improve care but also to increase youth engagement opportunities and for contributing to lifelong mental health.

The Centre’s youth advisory council co-developed a resource (in the form of a youth engagement traffic light) which provides examples about how to engage young people in the mental health system.

Rafael Lim Daunt BIO
Kamill SantafeBIO
Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health

B5 We’re in this Together: Promoting Health Virtually through COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on new challenges for post-secondary institutions. Many shifted in-person classes to online learning and introduced physical distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, these same measures may have negative effects on mental health outcomes, including increased isolation and challenges to accessing traditional mental health services. In this environment, the role of virtual mental health promotion (building community connection, developing capacity for support, and promoting on- and off- campus services) becomes critically important for student well-being. This 60-minute presentation will outline the steps taken for the development of new initiatives at the University of Toronto St. George campus, including virtual well-being workshops, mental health webinars, and a novel peer-to-peer community support group. The presenters will cover learnings, tips for success, and address common concerns that many institutions face when transitioning health promotion programs online.

Agnes Hsin | University of Toronto BIO
Pratik Nair | University of Toronto BIO
Kasthuri Paramalingam | University of Toronto BIO

B6 ASD Friends Group: Support Group for Individuals on the Spectrum

In this workshop, the presenters will take participants on a journey to discuss, how their support group began, strategies and techniques that they found useful to ensure their group was both a welcoming and supportive environment for all to attend. They will highlight how their ASD Friends group is a collaborative group with both the facilitators and participants. They will also discuss how their group pivoted from a weekly in-person model to a virtual model during the pandemic of COVID-19. The group’s curriculum is based on the evidenced-based UCLA Peers Program, specifically designed for individuals on the spectrum. Both facilitators are certified as the Youth Adult Certified Providers from the UCLA Peers Program.

Lavlet Forde | George Brown College BIO
Joanna Popczyk | George Brown College BIO

Breakout Rooms

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm


Breakout Rooms

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Concurrent Sessions | C1 – C5

C1 Promoting the RISE to Success and Well-being

Imagine a campus where everyone feels safe and a part of a community, especially those who face multiple barriers. This interactive workshop, designed for anyone who is student-facing will give you the tips and tools to create safe, equitable and inclusive spaces for students to share their voice and to feel like they are part of a community.

Shauna Moore | Durham College BIO

C2 Supporting Wellness Efforts by Implementation of a New National Standard

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), in collaboration with CSA Group (as the standards development organization), has championed the development of the CSA Z2003 Mental health and well-being for post-secondary students standard. The standard responds to the current mental health context, as well as concerns in the post-secondary community, providing institutions with a broad range of solutions to reduce or mitigate risk to student health and safety. The MHCC is investing in a self-assessment tool to support institutions in identifying opportunities and gaps, and to align their initiatives with the standard.

This session will be useful to those who are considering embarking on the implementation journey of this voluntary standard. In a rapidly changing world, where uncertainty can increase risks to mental health, this new national standard for Canada provides an opportunity for institutions to continue to prioritize wellness and to improve access to resources that promote mental health.

Sandra Koppert | Mental Health Commission of Canada BIO

C3 S.O.B. (Sense of Belonging) Stories: Navigating Student Belonging through Podcasts

Developing a sense of community and belonging is essential for university students and has been linked to students’ positive self-esteem, physical and psychological health and well-being and academic success. In a research study conducted at a small Canadian university, students emphasized the importance of creating a welcoming space for diversity and promoting experiences of recognition, validation, and engagement by peers and faculty as essential strategies for sense of belonging development.

Following the study, a student group created a space to share students’ stories of belonging. A monthly podcast, called S.O.B. Stories, was developed to promote a range of student voices, to normalize individual experiences, and to convey a message that social adversity in student experience is common and transient.

The presenters will share their experience of planning, implementation and evaluation of this community intervention and discuss strategies for student engagement on social media.

Victoria Dickson | Western University BIO
Laura McMaster | Western University BIO
Marina Morgenshtern | Western University BIO

C4 Integrated Approach to Implementation of a Virtual Wellness Hub and Series

Since launching the Mental Health and Wellness website in 2016, University of Ottawa has been building an integrated collaborative approach, “moving towards a culture of wellness”. COVID-19 pushed universities across the world to offer their academics virtually. To support learning and community activities beyond the classroom, in March 2020 the University of Ottawa launched the Virtual Wellness Series, offered by partner stakeholders from the University of Ottawa community and beyond. Tied into our 7 pillars of wellness, the series offers diverse virtual events and opportunities for the University of Ottawa community and the public to stay connected and engaged while physical distancing. Participants joined from every continent except Antarctica! Next step was its evolution into the Virtual Wellness Hub. This workshop explores their strategy, successes and challenges, while giving attendees the opportunity to experience the Virtual Wellness Hub and consider how to apply the learnings in their institutions.

Jennifer Keays | University of Ottawa BIO
Benoit Lefebvre | University of Ottawa BIO
April MacInnes | University of OttawaBIO
Sylvie Marko | University of Ottawa BIO
Colin Timm | University of Ottawa BIO

C5 Thriving in Action at College – Considerations for Availability, Access Points and Student Buy-in

Georgian and Sheridan Colleges team up to share lessons learned from piloting Thriving in Action, an integrated wellness learning strategy program developed by Ryerson. A Learning Strategist and Student Success Advisor offer an exploration of their experiences implementing a serial wellness program to align with the unique needs/ circumstances of college-level learners. Distinctive considerations for this population required organic evolution in response to student needs. Practical solutions, such as weekly integrated thriving kits and collaborative applied strategies/discussions will be showcased. These were developed in response to challenges at the college level related to availability, access points and buy-in.

Chrissy Deckers | Georgian University BIO
Carren Tatton | Sheridan University BIO

4:00 pm – 4:15 pm

Closing Ceremonies

Plenary Room