Poster Presentations

PP1Mental Health Care Help-Seeking Among Post-Secondary Students: A Scoping Review on Barriers and Facilitators

Over the years, rates of mental health diagnosis and self-reported psychological distress have been increasing among post-secondary students. Timely access to mental health care is critical for early intervention, which can improve treatment efficacy and long-term health outcomes. Despite advances in mental health awareness, stigma reduction, and web-based interventions, low help-seeking persists in the post-secondary educational setting. This poster presentation will highlight an up-to-date scoping review of mental health help-seeking barriers and facilitators in the post-secondary educational setting. Recognizing these factors may support institutions and researchers in developing, optimizing and/or delivering mental health resources in ways that promote accessibility and uptake by students.


Caitlin Pugh | The University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine BIO
Punit Virk | The University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine BIO

PP2Impacts of the Pandemic on Substance Use

One year into remote learning, 17,000 current students at Algonquin College in Ottawa were invited to participate in a survey examining the effects of COVID-19 on substance use and mental health. A strong response rate revealed alarming results.

The ASSIST (Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test) was administered to students to indicate which substances they are using and how problematic their use is. It was used to calculate which level of intervention is required. Students also completed standardized questionnaires assessing anxiety, depression, psychological distress, flourishing, and loneliness. Questions about academics, finances, employment, domestic violence, and stress were also included.

This poster presents the results of the study with a focus on which demographic, mental health, and other variables were most associated with substance use. Demographics include gender identity, international vs. domestic students, and urban vs. rural campuses. Resulting harm reduction and health promotion interventions are also presented.


Eliza Brown | Algonquin College BIO

PP3The Sense of Belonging: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on Post-Secondary Campuses

In a study conducted at a Canadian university, students emphasized the importance of creating an equitable space for diversity and inclusion and promoting experiences of recognition, validation, and engagement by peers and faculty as essential strategies for sense of belonging development. The Sense of Belonging initiative was created to respond to the findings of this study. Two students, under the supervision of the head of student services, planned, led and executed the project. The project included focus groups, weekly drop-in sessions, webinars, social media and online engagement with students to hear about their experiences on campus. This poster will highlight the goals and activities of the project undertaken. It will also address lessons learned and recommendations for higher education institutions to intentionally target student sense of belonging as a means to create an equitable campus culture and improve student mental health.


Jessica Lott | Trent University BIO
Katherine Woodburn-Chambers | Trent University BIO

PP4The PEER (suPporting mEntal hEalth in spoRt) Network

This presentation will describe the recent development and pilot testing of The PEER (suPporting mEntal hEalth in spoRt) Network, a dynamic online resource for members of the varsity athletic community. This resource was developed to accomplish a sense of comfort, community, and understanding around mental health within varsity sport. The PEER Network acts as a “one-stop shop” for all things mental health as it pertains to varsity sport. The goal of The PEER Network is to share resources, raise awareness, and create an athletic environment conducive to positive mental health and help-seeking. The efficacy of the PEER Network was recently confirmed by a small pilot study with varsity coaches and athletic therapists. The presentation will provide: 1) Details about the PEER Network; 2) How such a platform could be useful for post-secondary athletic institutions across the country; 3) Feedback from participants; and 4) Next steps for The PEER Network.


Jessica Murphy | Brock University BIO

PP5Stigma Ends at CU

Stigma is the most significant barrier for individuals seeking treatment for substance use and addictions. Stigma Ends at CU is a student led, volunteer-based social media campaign at Carleton University which aims to reduce the stigmatization of substance use and addiction. Beginning as a fourth-year neuroscience project and working in partnership with the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and the Community Addictions Peer Support Association, Stigma Ends at CU has grown to consist of over 70 volunteer students from diverse disciplines across campus. We adopt a harm reduction approach by providing education and resources through a variety of platforms including social media campaigns (~1000 followers), peer support groups, and live seminars. Our hope is that the campaign will not only empower young adults with the knowledge and language to discuss substance use and addictions, but also work toward creating a compassionate, inclusive, and judgement-free campus.


Justin P. K. Shimizu | Carleton University BIO

PP6Supporting Students with Substance Use: A Kingston Community Collaboration

This poster highlights the collaborative work and lessons learned on a project designed to both build partnerships and increase capacity around the issue of substance use amongst post-secondary students. With many moving pieces across two Kingston post-secondary institutions (SLC and Queen’s) and a central community mental health and addictions agency (AMHS-KFLA), the collaboration resulted in successfully providing training to two mental health teams and offered two eight-week psychoeducation groups to post-secondary students. This poster will describe the initial goals and planning process, the challenges faced, and the subsequent changes required to ensure this project’s continued success. In particular, we will focus our poster presentation on the impacts of partnership and building clinical competencies and referral processes, and our new jointly-run, sustainable psychoeducational student group supporting students struggling with substance use, misuse, and addictions.


Tania Nicholls | St. Lawrence College BIO
Chelsea Stelmach | Queen’s University BIO
Heather Robinson | Addictions and Mental Health Services, KFLA BIO

Belinda Holmes and Mary Gauthier

PP7HEARTSMAP-U: A Digital Psychosocial Self-Screening Tool for Post-Secondary Students

HEARTSMAP-U is psychosocial self-screening and resource navigation support tool developed for, by, and with post-secondary students. This screener allows students to self-identify their support needs across ten psychosocial areas: Housing & material security, Education & Activities, Relationships, Thoughts & Anxiety, Safety, Substance and behavioural dependencies, Sexual wellness, Mood, Abuse, and Professionals & resources. Based on students’ scoring pattern, HEARTSMAP-U generates concern- and severity-specific resource recommendations with multiple pathways to care (e.g., in-person, telehealth, hotlines, e-chat, self-directed). Over the past three years, we have worked with student end-users and clinical experts to evaluate HEARTSMAP-U’s measurement properties (e.g., validity, reliability) and gauge students’ user-experience and perceptions of the tool. In this poster presentation, we will introduce the tool, summarize our findings, ongoing studies, and future intentions to implement the tool in post-secondary educational settings across North America.


Punit Virk | University of British Columbia BIO
Heather Burt | University of British Columbia BIO
Ravia Arora | University of British Columbia BIO

PP8Our New Virtual World: The Substance Use Wellness Tool

The substance use wellness tool (SUWT) is an experimentally validated model that was developed by researchers from the Caring Campus Project. It is a unique, evidence-based harm reduction and self-assessment tool designed with significant student input. Traditionally being completed on paper, this project sought to transform the SUWT to fit with our new “normal”, consisting of online communications and virtual interactions. The online version of the SUWT is coloured, modelled from the Mental Health Continuum tool to easily guide users through the questions, and fully compatible with current AODA accessibility requirements. Its interactive interface allows users to holistically view and critique 13 major domains of substance use, after which they are provided with a spectrum of resources to foster peer and self-reflection. The online SUWT is novel and holds the potential to decrease the pandemic-induced rise of substance use rates in Canada.


Rashi Ramchandani | Queen’s University BIO
Majid Babaei | Queen’s University BIO
Kathryn Humphrys | Queen’s University BIO
Heather Stuart | Queen’s University BIO

PP9Evidence + Capacity + Support = High-Quality Virtual Mental Health Care for Young People

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, child and youth mental health (CYMH) agencies in Ontario quickly shifted to delivering care virtually. Through this transition, our Centre worked to ensure that despite the speed of these changes, service providers were equipped to deliver evidence-based, high quality care. Our team 1) mobilized existing and emerging knowledge to build their capacity to provide virtual care and shared this through briefs and webinars; 2) co-developed guidelines to support the e-mental health walk-in services; and 3) evaluated the sector’s transition to virtual care, to inform future implementation efforts. In this poster presentation, we describe the opportunities and challenges that delivering CYMH services virtually presents, and – given that virtual care is here to stay – share our plans to meet the evolving needs of the community-based CYMH sector in this area and discuss how this work can inform efforts to support Ontario’s post-secondary students over time.


The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health:
Dr. Purnima Sundar |BIO
Dr. Jaime Brown |BIO
Dr. Evangeline Danseco |BIO
Jana Kocourek |BIO

PP10Press Pause: Self-Help Toolkits for Students

This poster presentation goes over the state of student mental health and how that has influenced the decision to create Press Pause: a print material mental wellness toolkit that can be used by anyone dealing with feelings of stress and anxiety on a daily basis. An explanation of the story behind the brand, tools included in the kit, how they help, and what students and schools currently have to say about it.


Taylor Jackson | Press Pause Inc. BIO

PP11Supporting Student Well-being in a Virtual World

This poster provides an overview of the successes, challenges, and lessons learned from the rapid shift of campus mental health services to the virtual world by Student Counselling, Health & Well-being at York University. Areas of focus include the following:

  • Supporting students through adapting to remote service provision
  • Supporting colleagues, faculty, and staff by obtaining buy-in and promoting self-care
  • The importance of providing consistent, accurate, and timely communications
  • Managing organizational change during times of uncertainty


Stephanie Cheung | York University BIO

PP12Best Virtual Practices

Over the past year, I conducted a research study to analyze best virtual practices for virtual voice lessons and rehearsals. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an ability to adapt music education to virtual settings has become vital for the survival of the discipline. My research analyzed the effectiveness of various online platforms and teaching strategies in making music successfully through the pandemic. Findings from this study may benefit all vocal pedagogues and music educators as they transition to virtual teaching, providing them with strategies for embodied, holistic, and accessible ways to continue making music through an unprecedented time.

I integrated participant observation, unstructured interviews, and personal journaling with my work as a vocal director and private voice teacher. My findings illustrated the importance of community connection, humanity, and vulnerability in virtual education, providing educators with a foundation from which to build effective virtual teaching strategies during the pandemic and beyond.


Sarah Stapleton | University of Toronto (OISE) BIO

PP13The Brain Health Rewards Program

The purpose of the Brain Health Rewards Program (BHRP) is to increase the engagement of students around mental (brain) health through events that are facilitated by community and campus health professionals. All events are psycho-educational and activity based. With this collaborative program, they work with faculty to help promote the ways in which students can learn and strengthen their abilities to manage and care for their own health and well-being now and in the future.


Erica McGill | Acadia University BIO
Courtney Sheedy | Acadia University BIO

PP14Reimagining the Role of Student Voice in Campus Mental Health Research

In this poster presentation, attendees will learn about the University of Toronto Student & Youth Mental Health Research Initiative, a novel research institutional strategic initiative committed to enhancing student mental health and wellness for all students through world-class research, innovations, and applications, in collaboration with postsecondary students, institutions and community partners. This presentation will provide an overview of the student engagement model co-created with the Toronto Student & Youth Mental Health Research Initiative Student Advisory Committee, including student roles, levels of participation, and principles of our commitment to student engagement. This poster will also outline key milestones and outcomes of the co-development process over the inaugural year of the Student Advisory Committee.


Emma McCann | University of Toronto BIO
Lauren Hudak | University of Toronto BIO
Dr. Kristin Cleverley | University of Toronto BIO

PP15Introduction of Living Life to the Full – CMHA BC Division

This poster introduces Living Life to the Full, a Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)-based, grouped-based, 8-week mental health promotion program. A year-long funded project to deliver the course at no cost to all 18+ residents of British Columbia was implemented back in 2020. Based on the report conducted one year after the digitalization and delivery of the program, we will present the limits and challenges of the online delivery. Along with understanding how to navigate mental health promotion online, this poster presents evidence-built engagement tools put into place to prevent attrition and maximize participants’ presence and wellness impact.


Melodie Koster | CMHA BC Division BIO
Anne-Laure Combot | CMHA BC Division BIO

PP16Triaging Mental Health Clients Utilizing an Intake Counsellor

Assuring and improving equitable, inclusive and timely access to diverse mental health care at Carleton University’s Health and Counselling Services (HCS) and across campus resources. One of the ways HCS has worked at removing barriers and improving access to diverse supports is developing the Intake Counsellor role.

The Intake Counselor has the ability to not only triage, system navigate and risk assess, but also pair students with a counselor based on their unique needs and situation in a holistic manner. HCS offers a variety of specialized counsellors: Indigenous, Sexual Assault and Trauma, Athletic, Racialized, Substance Use, LGBT2QS+, International and Graduate.

HCS also boasts a variety of mental health supports from the medical team such as: Nurse Practitioners, GP Psychotherapy, and Mental Health Assessments with Physicians and Psychiatry.


Melissa Philpott | Carleton University BIO
Louise Shearman | Carleton University BIO

PP17Bypassing the Distance & Creating Connection

This poster will explore how cohorts form friendships within the group over virtual spaces by using the September 2020 Adler cohort as a case study. The poster will apply the stages of team development, forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning, to the actual experiences of the cohort to understand the strategies which allowed them to move through each stage. Moreover, data will be collected to understand how each member of the cohort feels about the group dynamic, their sense of belonging in the group, and how they were able to form relationships within the group.


Jessica Campbell | Adler Graduate Professional School BIO
Laura Cauchi | Adler Graduate Professional School BIO

PP18Telemental Health Support for Post-Secondary Students during COVID-19 Pandemic

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Ontario’s post-secondary institutions have undergone rapid adaptation to remotely deliver mental health services to their students. Through an environmental scan, they have assessed websites and social media channels of 20 universities and 24 colleges to determine the status of telemental health support for post-secondary students. The date range for the study was from October to December 2020. The majority of institutions have provided self-help resources, facilitated virtual peer support opportunities, and outsourced some of their counselling to external professionals via apps. The size of the student population influenced the types and availability of services, while rurality had little impact. Identified service gaps included the lack of information about service accessibility (especially for students residing outside the province), lack of financial aid and accommodation policies for students experiencing mental health difficulties, and lack of procedures protecting student confidentiality when using telemental health services.


Yukari Seko | Ryerson University BIO
Julien Meyer | Ryerson University BIO
Romaine Bonghanya | Ryerson University BIO
Leah Honiball | Ryerson University BIO

PP19Biphobia – A Comparative Study Between Indian Cis-Heterosexual and Queer Youth

A virtual poster claiming the limelight for a study exploring the prevalence of biphobia in the two Indian communal groups, representative of a typical society from extended east. The poster shall build support for the rationale and further elaborate upon the objective, methodology, results and conclusion followed by the future implications.


Harshvardhan Sharma BIO
Dr. Usha Sharma BIO

PP20Post-Secondary Students’ Mental Health Experiences Inside and Outside the Classroom

This poster will provide an overview of the findings of a study on accessibility in teaching and learning in post-secondary education through which student experiences of mental health were investigated. More specifically, this poster will underscore the challenges students face in navigating their mental health challenges both inside and outside of the classroom. The poster will also emphasize how accessible learning environments can help to mitigate the mental-health challenges faced by students.


Ameera Ali BIO