Health & Wellness
In 2013, the McMaster Student Mental Health Forum was established, which brought together students, health professionals, faculty, and administration in the pursuit of discussing the mental health needs of students on campus. These discussions were followed up on in 2014 by McMaster’s Student Affairs, and eventually led to 2015-2016’s Student Mental Health & Well-Being Strategy. This strategy provided five key recommendations that are now being adopted by the University. There are several ways in which I will be supporting this action plan:
- This plan recommends the establishment of a working group on developing training, resource recommendations, and guidance to the community. This also includes providing training to faculty departments and academic advisors to ensure these individuals are knowledgeable on how to identify student mental health concerns and direct these students to the appropriate resources. I will be heavily involved in this working group to ensure that you are receiving the best care from your faculties and advisors.
- Second, an accommodation policy committee is being struck to improve the ways that mental health concerns can be granted academic accommodation. I will be sitting on this committee in order to ensure students are represented. I will regularly be updating and consulting with students for feedback and ideas. If you have any questions or concerns regarding academic accommodations, feel free to email me or contact your respective SRA representative.
- Lastly, the mental health strategy focuses on conducting research into mental health issues at McMaster. I believe the MSU could be an important support in conducting this research, especially when related to the impact of mental health issues on academic performance. As such, a university affairs researcher was hired to assist with this research priority among other things.
Outside of the specific Student Mental Health & Well-Being Strategy, there is also the development of a Student Mental Health Network. This network will include students, MSU clubs, and student groups that are passionate about mental health issues. This year, I will be working on developing this network, and setting the priorities such that tangible mental health goals are articulated and achieved.