NAvigaTe: Nurse Assisted Transition Project 2013-2015 (University Virtual Ward) MHIF (Round 2)

Project Summary

Post-secondary students who have been hospitalized for mental health reasons are often poorly supported in their transition between hospital and the post-secondary setting. They may experience difficulty navigating and accessing community and campus services, encounter difficulty reintegrating into their academic and social environments, require intensive support from campus services and resources and are at high risk for dropping out of school, relapse and re-hospitalization. To help address the needs of students during this vulnerable period, Ryerson University, York University, and the University of Toronto partnered to develop and implement a pilot program designed to connect students to appropriate services and supports following a stay in hospital for mental health reasons.

The program model included a number of key elements, including the sharing of resources across the partner universities, including: 1) two mental health nurses (Transition Coordinators), who would be the primary support offered to students; 2) a program psychiatrist who provided consultation on all students admitted to the program; and 3) a Steering Committee, which included representation from the three schools, which provided guidance and decision making support throughout the project.

Students were referred to the program from hospitals or campus services. In consultation with the program psychiatrist, the Transition Coordinators assessed the students for eligibility. If they met the eligibility criteria, students were admitted to the program where they would have the support of a Transition Coordinator (TC)and access to the program psychiatrist. The role of the TC was primarily to help students integrate back into the post-secondary environment by supporting students to follow an established plan of care and by connecting them with the most appropriate resources on and off campus.

Key Outcomes

  • Developed an educational module for other hospitals, post-secondary institutions, and LHINs;
  • Provide training to interested institutions;
  • Participated in knowledge exchange activities through the Centre of Innovation for Campus Mental Health;
  • Developed a toolkit

Reports & Resources

NAvigaTe Toolkit

Lead Institute
University of Toronto
Project Leads

Janine Robb

Executive Director, Student Health and Wellness
University of Toronto, St. George

Su-Ting Teo

Humber College

Judy Vorderbrugge

Community Health Coordinator, Health & Wellness
University of Toronto

Partner Organizations
  • Ryerson University
  • University of Toronto
  • St. George
  • York University
  • Women’s College Hospital
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