Concurrent Sessions

Session details for Wednesday November 3, 2021

Dec 5, Day 1

8:30 am – 9:00 am EDT

Opening Ceremonies

Welcome Address
Masters of Ceremonies

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

Special Guest Speaker

Plenary Room

9:00 am – 10:00 am EDT

Keynote Address

Plenary Room

10:00 am – 10:15 am EDT


10:15 am – 11:15 am EDT

Concurrent Sessions | A1 – A5

A1 Combatting Racism: From Bystander to Upstander

COVID-19 has sharpened the structural and societal inequities that have long existed and permeated disproportionately across racialized communities. These inequities have been maintained by power dynamics that translate into a lack of access to resources and opportunities. This presentation describes the process, delivery, and outcome of a psycho-educational intervention which presenters ran in 2020-21. Facilitated by staff and faculty and offered through multiple formats, the intervention explored ways inequities are embedded in cultural ideas, artifacts, and symbols of the superiority of a specific culture and race. Involving audience through a real-time app (Mentimeter), the presentation will also share practical ways which can help a campus community to move from bystander to upstander—taking purpose and impactful actions to combat anti-Black, anti-Asian and anti-Indigenous racism, as well as Islamophobia and other forms of oppression.

Tayyab Rashid | University of Toronto Scarborough BIO
Kosha Bramesfeld | University of Toronto Scarborough BIO
Chanda Chandalala | Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto BIO

A2 Normalizing Conversations about Substance Use Health: A Regional, Multi-Sectoral Approach

This panel presentation will discuss the implementation of a harm reduction partnership across three post-secondary institutions that increases substance use health through virtual education, naloxone training/distribution, peer-support, and student-led campaigns. Successful partnerships with research, peer-support and public health organizations supported post-secondary student leaders, faculty and other staff with evidence-based knowledge products and harm reduction activities informed by those with lived or living experience. Evaluations show that implementation increased faculty members confidence in supporting student’s substance use health, including supporting students to navigate appropriate resources.

Panelists will describe current campus environments, barriers and facilitators to implementation, and lessons learned. This practice-based evidence will increase the capacity of other post-secondary campuses to foster a harm reduction culture that honours all pathways to increased substance use health, free from stigma or discrimination. All resources are accessible virtually, allowing for implementation during COVID containment measures.


Dillon Brady | Carleton University BIO
Sarah Crawford | Algonquin College BIO
Kim Hellemans | Carleton University BIO
Tina White | Community Addictions Peer Support Association BIO

A3 Peer Support Panel

Peer support programs are fast growing on campuses across the province. There is a growing body of evidence that backs peer support being an effective intervention for individuals coping with mental health concerns. This evidence, in conjunction with naturally occurring peer support on campus, makes the implementation and sustainability of formalized peer support programs a vital solution to the mental health demands that young adults are facing within a post-secondary setting. This panel will bring together three examples of how peer support can be implemented and used as an effective intervention for post-secondary students.

Presentations will be made by the University of Toronto, Carleton University and Fanshawe College.

A4 Adapting Campus and Community Collaboration to Support Students in Crisis

Increasing volumes of post-secondary students, changing student profiles and the recent challenges to accessing mental health supports have necessitated the development of increasingly creative solutions. This interactive session explores the evolution and adaptation of the Crisis Support model for students developed in London, Ontario. The partnership between Western University Students’ Council, Western Society of Graduate Students, Western Student Health, Kings University College, Fanshawe College Student Union, Fanshawe Counselling and Accessibility Services, Fanshawe Peer Supports and CMHA Middlesex has grown and transformed over the past 3 years. The presentation will share changes since the launch of evening crisis satellites on campuses, mental health literacy initiatives and transition to a flexible virtual service in response to COVID-19. Key elements of success, challenges, lessons learned, and outcomes will be shared. Participants will be engaged in exploration of innovative ways to further build on this model as the post-secondary landscape continues to change.

Nikki Ross | Fanshawe College BIO
Lori Hassall | CMHA Middlesex BIO

A5 Supporting Survivors of Sexual Violence in a Virtual World

During these times of uncertainty, fear, and isolation, the need to support survivors of sexual violence is at an all-time high. Students face various stressors in their lives, from their academic commitments, financial challenges, and mental health struggles, therefore it is crucial that they receive appropriate and accessible supports. This presentation will provide participants with information regarding ways to successfully connect and engage with students who are survivors of sexual violence, off-campus. Our panelists from the Durham Rape Crisis Centre, Durham College, and Trent University are here to provide information regarding how to provide support to survivors through technology.

Isabella Giuga  | Durham Rape Crisis Centre BIO
Tanya Montebello | Durham Rape Crisis Centre BIO
Tyler Creces | Durham College BIO
Corinn Phillips | Trent University BIO

Breakout Rooms

11:15 am – 11:30 am EDT


11:30 am – 12:30 pm EDT

Concurrent Sessions | B1 – B6

B1 Embedding EDI into TA Training to Promote Student Mental Health

This workshop showcases our discussion-based approach to embedding – not “adding on” – equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) into our programs, workshops, and resources for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Drawing on a theoretical framework that includes thriving (Schreiner, 2010), flux pedagogy (Ravitch, 2020), and accountable spaces (e.g., see Ahenkorah, 2020) discover how we use a trauma-informed, student-centered approach to (a) model creating accessible and inclusive spaces, and (b) embed active learning activities about EDI and mental health. This approach can inspire TAs, staff, and college or university instructors to create inclusive spaces as they craft connections with their students. We invite you to learn how you can move equity goals from the margins to the center of your existing student-facing resources. Together, we will create a list of concrete strategies to empower you to introduce new conversations and actions about EDI and mental health into your context on campus.

Dr. Sanja Ivanov | Western University BIO
Dr. Lisa Aikman | Western University BIO
Dr. Melanie-Anne Atkins | Western University BIO

B2 Working for change: How non-Indigenous community members can meaningfully support our Indigenous students, faculty and staff, as we mourn and memorialize residential school victims

Our Indigenous student support staff, faculty, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers are being stretched more and more. Requests to organize and run memorials for residential school victims are demanding time, resources, and emotional energy. They are retraumatizing. Tragically, we will continue to see discoveries of unmarked graves, and uncovering of further atrocities at former residential school sites, and we do not want these to be diminished or dismissed. There are many ways that non-Indigenous community members can take on responsibility for engaging in ongoing memorialization and support activities, in culturally appropriate and action-oriented ways.

Join Dawn Lavell-Harvard (Director of First Peoples House of Learning) and Nona Robinson (Associate Vice President Students) for a guided discussion in ways to provide support for Indigenous members of your institution’s community, and to memorialize in ways that move beyond token activities in order to work for change. They will share initiatives taking place at Trent University, ways to ensure consultation and protocols are being respected and followed, and educating for allyship. They will also facilitate sharing ideas, and help with brainstorming projects that can be effective at your institution.

Dr. Nona Robinson | Trent University BIO
Dr. Dawn Lavell Harvard | Wiikwemkoong First Nation BIO

B3 Eating Disorders: Lessons from NEDIC’s Capacity-Building Trainings on our Post-Secondary Campuses

8-17% of post-secondary students are affected with an eating disorder, yet many campuses are under-resourced to handle these concerns. Over the last year, the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) has worked to deliver 28 educational sessions to post-secondary institutions across the country, aiming to fill a gap by bringing awareness of our free services to students across Canada and facilitate access to support by equipping campus stakeholders with information to refer. In this one-hour workshop, attendees will learn about the lessons from this initiative, the impact of COVID-19 and virtual delivery of mental health services on eating disorders and will be invited to take a whole-campus approach to engage in the conversation so that students who suffer from eating disorders are recognized and are able to receive effective support.

Ary Maharaj | National Eating Disorder Information Centre BIO
Brittaney Gearin | National Eating Disorder Information Centre BIO
Victoria Knoll | National Eating Disorder Information Centre BIO

B4 The 3 C’s: Community, Campus and Co-Design

This presentation will describe the partnership arrangement and co-collaboration that took place between Stella’s Place and the University of Toronto Mississauga Student Union to successfully co-design, create, implement, enhance, and operate a student-run Peer Support program. Presenters will provide an overview of the lessons learned, the impacts seen, and the mistakes that were made along the way, as a means of helping others understand best practices in the co-creation of mental health and substance use programming on campus. They will highlight the value of the partnership that has been created between UTSMU and Stella’s Place through their funder, the CICMH.

Allison Dunning | Stella’s Place BIO
Asante Haughton | Stella’s Place BIO
Mitra Yakubi | U of T Mississauga Student Union BIO

B5 A Holistic Approach to Responsive Virtual Mental Health and Accessible Learning Services

From 2018-2019, Centennial College’s Centre for Accessible Learning and Counselling Services (CALCS) had undertaken a significant effort to implement a new service model for student mental health and accessible learning services. This model centered on same-or next-day, drop-in intake and brief counselling supports for students experiencing immediate distress, and those accessing services for the first time, coupled with responsive development of an accommodation plan or personal care plan depending on a student’s presenting challenges and goals. This service model enabled the elimination of waitlists across 5 campuses in the Fall of 2019. During the winter of 2020, we rapidly adapted this service model to offer our full range of services within a virtual care environment. This session will share key insights and outcomes related to our revitalized service model and share tools and promising practices for delivering responsive mental health and accessible learning services in a multi-jurisdictional, virtual environment.

Dr. Rick Ezekiel | Centennial College BIO
Catherine Chen | Centennial College BIO
Dr. Sterling Crowe | Humber College BIO

B6 Importance de la socialisation et de l’engagement pour le bien-être en temps de pandémie: perspective de mentorée et d’étudiants-mentor

Notre atelier mettra l’accent sur l’importance de la socialisation et de l’engagement des étudiants spécialement en temps de pandémie.

Notre expérience en tant que mentoré et étudiant-mentor démontrera comment l’engagement social et académique contribue à une meilleure santé mentale, spécialement en temps de COVID, ainsi qu’à la connaissance de soi et au développement de la communauté. En s’engageant, on ne s’isole pas, on contribue à faire avancer les choses, on apprend, on développe un esprit créatif et curieux, et on soigne son bien-être et sa santé mentale. Nous montrerons également comment la collaboration entre les professeurs et les étudiants-mentor contribue à l’engagement social des étudiants ainsi qu’à la dynamique des étudiants dans leur réussite académique. Enfin, compte tenu du fait que la population étudiante de l’Université de Hearst est à majorité internationale, un accent particulier sera mis sur la perception de la santé mentale dans la communauté noire.

Simone Amagnamoua | Université de Hearst BIO
Jean Jacques Fouda | Université de Hearst BIO

Breakout Rooms

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm EDT

LUNCH / Yoga / Meditation

Breakout Rooms

12:45 pm – 1:30 pm EDT

Lunch Sessions | LS1 – LS2

LS1 Mindful Movement for those who can’t Meditate

Mindfulness is about tuning into the present moment. You do not have to be a good meditator or sit still and focus on your breathing to achieve the benefits of mindfulness. Mindfully walking or running, yoga, or many types of movements can help you be more aware of your body. Mindful movement can support stress reduction.

This workshop focuses on how to manage our own unique stress responses by exploring movements that can help regulate experiences of over stimulation (hyper-arousal) to feelings associated with burn-out and low-energy (hypo-arousal).

This physically engaging workshop explores mindful movement such as wavy and fluid motions for self-soothing and calming. In contrast participants will also explore more energizing movement vocabulary and core engagement to support burn-out. It helps participants deepen their inner relationship to their embodied experience from both a cognitive, emotional, and sensory perspective. Although this workshop is loosely dance based, no dance experience is required. There will be accessible prompts given to all mobility needs.

Shaila Khan | York University BIO

LS2 The UWorkItOut UWin Program: Improving the Mental Health of Students

The UWorkItOut UWin team will discuss the value an exercise and counselling program brings to a campus mental health strategy. Despite various approaches to improving student mental health, exercise remains an effective method (Huang et al., 2018). The 6-week UWorkItOut UWin program has shown to decrease psychological distress and increase psychological well-being. In collaboration with student counselling services and the many students employed to deliver the program, the presenters have successfully implemented this program over 9 semesters. Throughout this panel discussion, they will 1) provide an overview of the program, detailing the counselling sessions and the exercises used in the one-on-one training, 2) highlight the feedback from clients’ exit interviews, 3) discuss the importance of social support, and 4) provide future directions. This evidence-based program relies on students, under the supervision of faculty, to improve the well-being of their peers where students serve as program coordinators, personal trainers, and exercise-counsellors.

Melissa Pare | University of Windsor BIO
Irene Muir  | University of Windsor BIO
Dr. Krista Munroe-Chandler | University of Windsor BIO
Dr. Todd Loughead | University of Windsor BIO
Chad Sutherland | University of Windsor BIO

Breakout Rooms

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm EDT

Keynote Address

Plenary Room

2:30 pm – 2:45 pm EDT


2:45 pm – 3:45 pm EDT

Concurrent Sessions | C1 – C6

C1 Student Voices on Campus Mental Health: Perspectives of Marginalized Groups

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)’s presentation will draw from their own published policy papers, written and informed by students, to discuss the role of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in accessing on-campus mental health support for students from marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds. The presentation will explore the barriers these students face such as the inadequate provision of culturally relevant and sensitive care, and the lack of diverse representation among campus counsellors. The presentation will also highlight how systemic issues like racism, religious discrimination, accessibility barriers, homophobia, and transphobia disproportionately impact students from marginalized backgrounds and further exacerbates mental health challenges. Student-driven policy recommendations that actively incorporate EDI principles will be discussed, demonstrating the ways that the government can support institutions to create more equitable access to services and programming that support the mental health of students from marginalized groups.

Malika Dhanani | Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) BIO

C2 Leaning into Art: Indigenized Art Therapy

This presentation will be interactive and demonstrate what Indigenized art therapy is and its relevance and efficacy in post-secondary settings. The presenter will introduce participants to an eco-arts activity using water and other materials that people have access to. The main objective of this workshop is to show how creating and making is an integral part of healing.

Leanna Marshall | Confederation College BIO

C3 Unexpected Lessons: Embracing Virtual Suicide Prevention Initiatives

The current global pandemic has necessitated reimagining the delivery of health promotion programs and pivoting to online delivery for a range of wellness topics including suicide prevention. LivingWorks Start is an asynchronous online suicide prevention training that presents an alternative to the in-person safeTALK training that was a staple of so many institutions’ pre-pandemic suicide prevention strategies. This session will highlight lessons learned from implementing LivingWorks Start with faculty, staff, and students at three Ontario post-secondary universities amid COVID-19. An analysis of pre-and post-training survey data from 800+ individuals will be used to report on the training’s efficacy and participants will be presented with strategies for contextualizing and deepening participant learning. Workshop attendees will learn why the presenters plan to continue to offer LivingWorks Start even after a return to in-person learning and will be provided with a framework for considering whether to adopt this training on their own campuses.

Chad Jankowski | University of Toronto BIO
Melissa Fernandes | University of Toronto BIO

C4 Loneliness Panel

Even before the pandemic, loneliness was on the rise among Canadians. While it touches everyone, loneliness is a shared experience heightened on post-secondary campuses. A 2016 survey across Canadian universities found that nearly 70 per cent of students felt lonely throughout the school year and subsequent polls since the start of the pandemic have highlighted even higher numbers. This panel will bring together various campuses and community organizations to discuss the issue of loneliness on campuses and emerging and best practices to address it.

Presentations will be made by Cambrian College, University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy and Canadian Mental Health Association, York Region South Simcoe

C5 The Framework on Effective Youth Engagement in Mental Health is a national charity that works with young people to identify and dismantle barriers to positive mental health and youth help-seeking across Canada. One of the key principles of their work involves youth engagement: bringing youth voices and expertise to the table to ensure that they have meaningful input into the programs they deliver. They have developed a youth engagement framework to ensure ongoing accountability to the youth that they serve. In this presentation, staff and youth Network Representatives will present this framework and describe one of their programmatic activities as a case study. They will also reflect on past limitations, challenges, and key learnings on our youth engagement journey. Finally, they will provide space for attendees to share their own lessons in youth engagement so that they may all learn from one another.

Taylor Montgomery | BIO
John Labao | BIO
Aswani Siwakoti | BIO

C6 The High Stakes of Gambling, Substance Use, and Mental Health Challenges During the Pandemic

Public health restrictions due to COVID-19, like stay-at-home orders, have impacted Ontarians. In particular, many young adults have turned to online gambling. With an expanded, regulated online gambling environment and the recent government approval of single-event sports betting, incoming changes to the gambling landscape will be significant. This session will challenge attendees to think about why problem gambling should be addressed and included in on-campus harm reduction efforts.

Lisa Couperus | Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) BIO
Sasha Stark | Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) BIO
Alex Price | Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) BIO

Breakout Rooms

3:45 pm – 4:00 pm EDT


4:00 am – 5:00 pm EDT

Concurrent Sessions D1 – D6

D1 Young Caregivers Connect: Recognizing and Supporting Young Caregivers

There are an estimated 500,000 caregivers under the age of 25 in Ontario ( Many young caregivers struggle to manage the demands of caregiving alongside school and/or work. Until recently, there have been no provincial resources available to support young caregivers. This presentation will highlight some of the unique challenges that young caregivers face and describe the process that the OCO took to engage young caregivers in developing the resource. This presentation will help front-line service providers, faculty and staff recognize and support young caregivers. This presentation will also demonstrate the importance of engaging with youth in the development of programs and services and provide some suggestions for successful collaboration. Attendees will leave this presentation with a better understanding of how to recognize a young caregiver, respond to their needs, and understand what support is available to them.

Micaela Harley | Ontario Caregiver Organization BIO
Kathleen Slemon | Ontario Caregiver Organization BIO

D2 8th Fire Ogimaawag (Anishinaabek Leaders): The Teachings of Generosity

8th Fire-Ogimaawag is a program of service for Indigenous and settler students based on findings of a research survey using Indigenous student’s qualitative responses (Algonquin College, 2021). The program of service integrates traditional Indigenous medicine wheel teachings and incorporates concepts of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity based on the Circle of Courage model created by Brokenleg, M. (2013). Using the Circle of Courage model in association with the foundational teachings of the Medicine Wheel can foster Indigenous students’ empowerment and life-long successes based on traditional Indigenous and Anishinaabek teachings. The 8th Fire-Ogimaawag challenges current held mainstream concepts of success, and it introduces holistic Indigenous resilience and empowerment strategies to create a welcoming doorway that nurtures Indigenous initiatives and worldviews.

Dr. Gail Lafleur | Algonquin College BIO
Jackie Tenute | Algonquin College BIO
Nathaniel Parent | Algonquin College BIO

D3 Improving Timely Access to Support Using Virtual Single Session Counselling

In response to the steady increase in the number of students reaching out for mental health supports, the University of Calgary Student Wellness Services pivoted to the use of the single session therapy model (SSTM) as an additional service that is client-centered and efficient for mental health support. The SSTM was offered online, due to the rapid shift of campus mental health services to the virtual world during the COVID-19 pandemic. This panel will compare the SSTM to other therapy models (e.g., brief psychotherapies), explain the challenges with the virtual SSTM, and provide recommendations to improve current offerings of SSTM online. This presentation will also provide attendees with lessons learned on 1) student perception of support, efficacy, and engagement in the virtual SSTM; 2) coordination between student needs and recommended supports in the virtual SSTM; and 3) provide evidence to support the effectiveness of the virtual SSTM in diversifying services.

Claire McGuinness | University of Calgary BIO
Kelsey Friesen | University of Calgary BIO
Melissa Mueller | University of Calgary BIO
Dr. Jennifer Thannhauser | University of Calgary BIO

David Norstokke | University of Calgary

D4 Impact of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic on People Who Use Drugs (PWUD) Substance Use, Supply, and Service Access: A National Qualitative Assessment

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on people’s lives and has disproportionately affected people who use drugs (PWUD) who are at an increased risk of experiencing related consequences. The present study qualitatively examined the impacts of COVID-19 on PWUD’s substance use, supply, and access to key services among 200 PWUD from across Canada. Results highlight increased substance use and a toxic supply, combined with an inaccessibility of critical services, which consequently resulted in increases in relapse, withdrawal, and unattended overdose events. These findings warrant the need for accessible supports/services for PWUD during the pandemic and beyond.

Cayley Russell  | Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) BIO
Farihah Ali | Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) BIO

D5 Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic: Focusing on Graduate Student Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has had deleterious effects on student mental health. In conversations about student wellness, undergraduate and graduate students are often grouped together. However, graduate students face unique stressors that impact their mental well-being (e.g., competitive atmosphere, conflict with supervisors) and it is imperative to have discussions specifically regarding graduate students’ academic experiences. In this workshop, the presenters will present data on pre- to post-COVID changes in mental health and well-being among psychology graduate students at a Canadian university. These findings will serve as a starting point in an interactive discussion examining individual and campus-level changes in mental health due to the pandemic, and the lessons we can learn from this experience.

Discussion questions will include:

  • How can we support students when ‘business as usual’ is not feasible?
  • How has the pandemic highlighted missing needs in graduate student experiences?
  • How can departments maintain sense of community in a virtual environment?

Katey Park | Ryerson University BIO
Annabel Sibalis | Ryerson University BIO

D6 From “They to Ze”

This workshop will help to increase our understanding and importance of using preferred pronouns to create safe inclusive spaces. We will discuss the grammatical use of gender-neutral pronouns and break down the steps to creating safe spaces for the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Tyler Creces | Durham College BIO
Shauna Moore | Durham College BIO

Breakout Rooms

5:00 pm – 5:15 pm EDT

Closing Remarks

Plenary Room