Home National Standards The Strategic Pillars of the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students

The Strategic Pillars of the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students

Supportive, Safe, and Inclusive Post-Secondary Environment
(Clause 5.4.2)

A post-secondary institution shall establish a supportive, safe, and inclusive environment that contributes to an institutional culture that is conducive to student mental health and well-being. Creating a supportive post-secondary environment can include efforts directed at the physical, social, online, academic, and learning environments. Physical spaces that promote positive interactions between members of the post-secondary community help create a positive sense of community, minimize stressors or risk factors, and promote a health environment. Efforts directed at key transition times in the student life cycle (e.g., admission, orientation, transfers, graduation) are also essential to enhancing a flourishing and supportive learning environment.

Literacy, Education, and Stigma Reduction
(Clause 5.4.3)

Mental health awareness and understanding of the factors that contribute to a positive mental health, are essential to creating and maintaining a healthy, supportive, and inclusive environment. Promoting mental health awareness plays a role in reducing the stigma around mental health issues and contributes to a culture of help-seeking.

Accessibility
(Clause 5.4.4)

While respecting human rights legislation and legal obligations, post-secondary institutions shall include the duty to accommodate free from discrimination and undue hardships. Post-secondary institutions shall ensure that their policies, programs, environments, and initiatives provide respectful, equitable access to learning environments without compromising the quality or integrity of education/programming. The ultimate goal is to help students remain within their post-secondary institutions, to feel respected and supported while providing the tools to allow for flourishing within their personal and academic journey.

Early Intervention
(Clause 5.4.5)

Post-secondary institutions shall implement systems and programs to equip the post-secondary community with the knowledge to recognize, respond, and refer students who are exhibiting warning signs of mental health and well-being issues to appropriate resources and services. Post-secondary institutions shall focus on screening students for psychosocial needs, training the community on signs of declining mental health, and establishing navigators to help students connect to appropriate resources.

Mental Health Supports
(Clause 5.4.6)

Mental health and well-being supports are a critical component of a systemic and holistic approach to mental health and well-being for post-secondary students. These may include, but are not limited to

  • access to a broad range of services such as peer support;
  • e-mental health;
  • substance use and addiction counselling;
  • harm reduction;
  • mindfulness;
  • sweat lodges;
  • smudging spaces;
  • outdoor programs such as land-based initiatives and walking sessions; and
  • professional counselling and psychiatric services

Crisis Management and Postvention
(Clause 5.4.7)

Crisis management processes enable the post-secondary institution and community to response effectively to crisis situations, which often involve acute distress or imminent risk harm to self or others. Such situations require an elevated level of response to ensure the safety of all involved, as well as postvention to provide support following a crisis or a critical event.


These strategic pillars were taken from the National Standard for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students, which can be found here.

Guide: PDF Version