This environmental scan represents a collection of evaluated and emerging practices aligning with the strategic pillars of the National Standard for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students. Many strategic pillars of the Standard were well represented in this scan. A supportive, safe and inclusive post-secondary environment was established on many campuses through the use of workshops, roles, peer supports, services, and spaces. Mental health literacy and education were promoted on campuses through events, workshops, and educators. Access for students with physical and mental health disabilities was established through workshops, lending programs, services, peer support, and space-based programs. Finally, mental health supports were provided to students by virtual means, teams of professionals, support groups, non-counsellor roles, space-based programs, and peer support. One of the strengths identified across Canadian post-secondary institutions was the provision of peer support programs, with 34 universities and colleges listing those services on their website, and one evaluated practice being the peer support program at McGill university.

Strategic pillars of the Standard that were less well represented and which could benefit from further development of resources and programs include early intervention, which only consisted of two evaluated and twelve emerging programs, and crisis management and postvention, which consisted of one evaluated and eight emerging programs. While some institutions did address early intervention on their campuses using roles, teams, and online forms, these initiatives were geographically centered in western Canada, with fewer programs identified in the east. The National Standard recommends early intervention approaches that encourage student agency and assist students to self-identify mental health needs, include navigators from the post-secondary community to help students connect to appropriate resources, screen students for psychosocial needs when they seek primary care services, and train the post-secondary community to help recognize and respond to signs of declining mental health. With respect to crisis management and postvention, some institutions did address this pillar with the use of teams and phone lines, however these programs were limited in number, and a majority of institutions had no in-house student-crisis initiatives listed on their websites. The National Standard recommends that post-secondary institutions create transparent processes and protocols for crisis management, including training and role clarity for the post-secondary community on emergency procedures and crisis response, efforts to support cross-training, communication, and coordination with community partners, as well as resources to support students and the community after a critical event.

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