According to the Committee on Student Mental Health (CoSMH), almost three-quarters of recommendations from the March 2018 President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health’s (PAC-SMH) report are either in progress or have been implemented. That amounts to 26 out of 36 recommendations in total

The CoSMH, a group of internal and external partners dedicated to developing and implementing a plan to translate the PAC-SMH report recommendations into specific actions, hosted a forum on November 6 to update Waterloo’s community on the progress of each initiative.

Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor, continues to emphasize the importance of prioritizing mental health initiatives at Waterloo.

"Waterloo is a community that comes together for one another and the outpouring of ideas, passion and concern we’ve seen across our university has made a tremendous difference," says Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor. "Our student mental health journey has seen immediate and broad holistic actions, such as the creation of the Wellness Collaborative, all with a focus on long-term impact, and we will continue this journey as it began: as a community."

Providing evidence-based suggestions to implement recommendation and support to the CoSMH have included mental health subgroups such as the Mental Health Literacy Training Steering Committee, the Verification of Condition Process Working Group, the Peer Support Enhancement Working Group and the Academic Working Group.

“Over the last year and a half, I’ve been grateful and astounded at the breadth of engagement across campus as we’ve worked towards realizing the spirit and intent of the PAC-SMH report,” says John Hirdes, CoSMH chair. “Through this work, Waterloo has taken an important leadership role amongst our peers, and I hope the impact of what we are doing today will set a new standard for how post-secondary institutions support their students’ mental health.”

The forum is just one of CoSMH’s many efforts to engage the Waterloo community in the dialogue on student mental health and wellness. Ongoing expertise has also been provided by counselling services, the equity office, AccessAbility Services, Centre for Teaching Excellence and the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington.

“The Committee on Student Mental Health has advanced significantly on the goals outlined in the report, and is poised to accomplish even more heading into 2020,” Michael Beauchemin, CoSMH student representative and president of the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA). “CoSMH has done an extraordinary amount of work and has drawn people together from all University departments to take active control and make positive change for student mental health.”

The forum provides another opportunity to engage the Waterloo community in the dialogue on student mental health and wellness.

Regular meeting summaries are posted on the CoSMH website, with further conversations happening with the Waterloo University Student Association (WUSA) and Graduate Student Association (GSA) later this year.

A recording of the forum can be found here.