A Whole-Campus Approach to Crisis

What is a whole-campus approach?

Illustration of House and TreeIn a whole-campus approach, all members of the campus community are involved in supporting student mental health. Ideally, practices that promote mental health are woven into all aspects of campus, from policies and programs/services to the learning environment. The whole-campus approach also involves breaking down silos between departments/campus areas and ensuring that everyone has the appropriate information and resources they need to support student mental health based on their role on campus. This approach allows for information to flow more freely between campus departments. It also ensures that every interaction students have with staff and faculty can help connect them to the proper resources to support their mental health. The whole-campus approach aids campuses in assessing available resources to better understand what services can be provided to students in-house. This can provide the foundation for intentional partnership building with community mental health organizations to fill service gaps and ensure students have access to a full complement of mental health services to meet their varying needs. When creating a campus framework for crisis response, post-secondary institutions should include ways to support students who live far from campus, whether that’s out of the city/town, province, or country. This ensures that all students will have equitable access to support resources.

Within a campus, there are many opportunities for staff and faculty to interact with students. This means that there is also a chance that staff may come across a student who is experiencing a crisis. Therefore, it can be helpful to have a good sense of some of the resources that are available to support students on your campus. Some places you can find more information on the resources available to students include:

Depending on your role on campus, there may be different things that you can do to support student mental health, from having a good understanding of the resources available to being able to intervene and de-escalate a crisis situation. Your role as a faculty or staff member is not necessarily to assess risk or be a student’s main point of contact in a crisis. Instead, it is to provide support in the moment, and to help a student get connected to programs/services that can best meet their needs.

To learn more about the whole-campus approach and ways it can be implemented, take a look at the Okanagan Charter in the appendix.

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