Mental wellness for male freshman, a pan-Canadian University project
Male freshmen are particularly vulnerable to substance misuse linked to mental ill health during their first year at university. Research shows they experience more stressors during their transition from family life to independence, and are more likely to use substances to relieve stress, anxiety, or depression. This may place them at higher risk for mental health problems, mental illnesses, suicide, and substance abuse disorders.
Researchers at Queen’s University—Heather Stuart, Shu-Ping Chen, and Terry Krupa —were recently awarded more than 1.7 million dollars by Movember Canada, to mount a mental wellness program targeting first year freshmen. The goals are to reduce risks associated with mental ill health and substance misuse and create a more supportive campus environment for male freshmen. The program will be piloted at Queen’s University, then expand to University of Calgary (Keith Dobson) and Dalhousie University (Michael Teehan and Sherry Stewart). The project is funded by Movember Canada.
The program will help students learn about mental wellness and safe substance use patterns; will correct misperceptions about substance use norms; and promote student – driven and led activities to raise awareness of the importance of early identification and intervention. Opportunities for active engagement and dialogue will be a central component.