Health and Mental Health

Recommendation Accountability18 Metrics/Key Performance Indicators19 Status of Recommendation20
32 | The following are anti-racism training recommendations for health service providers and counsellors, grouped into five broad categories: Introduction to Anti-racism/Anti-racism Fundamentals, Social Determinants of Health, Racism and Discrimination in Healthcare, Culturally Responsible and Safe Healthcare/Anti-racist Framework for Clinical Practice, Racial and Intergenerational Trauma. Director, Campus Wellness At least one anti-racism course/workshop in each of the five recommended categories is available for healthcare providers and counsellors to register in29 30 Some relevant trainings are available through the Office of EDI-R (in two of the five recommended categories).
33 | Develop group-specific healing circles that serve the needs of Black, Indigenous, or other racialized groups. Special consideration should also be given to those with intersecting identities (e.g., with differing sexual orientations and gender identities). These healing circles should offer resources and strategies to deal with mental health challenges (e.g., anxieties), should be empowering, and should promote stories of resiliency.
34 | Ensure that the facilitators of healing circles are trained in the best practices (e.g., regular check-ins with participants) for creating culturally safe spaces, have a background in healing, and come from the same/similar background as those they serve/participants (e.g., Indigenous Elders, Black counsellors, spiritual healers from various faith communities).
Director, Campus Wellness Pilot a healing circle program for racialized student groups, ensuring that best practices are employed.  
35 | Provide opportunities for international students to freely and safely discuss their experiences in a new/unknown environment, obtain strategies to effectively navigate new systems, and learn how to cope with stressors. Director, Student Success Office Pilot a workshop/program (e.g., sharing circle) for internationals students that focuses on strategies to effectively navigate new environments and learn to cope with stressors.  
36 | Designate ‘safe’ physical spaces (e.g., indoor spaces, community gardens) that can be used by racialized students and employees to heal from racial and intergenerational trauma. Place clear physical markers outside these spaces for ease in locating them. Director, Campus Wellness At least one indoor and one outdoor safe space for racialized students and employees that are healing from racial and intergenerational trauma are identified. WISC has a Ceremonial Fire Grounds in which “individual use for peaceful reflection is encouraged”31
37 | Maintain an easily accessible resource list of healing/safe spaces on campus and in the Region of Waterloo. Distribute this list to health service providers regularly.
38 | The University should expand its current Wellness Resources Database to include services on and off campus that are tailored to members of the Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities.
39 | Health service providers should be able to competently refer students to on and off campus supports for emergency loans, access to affordable and nutritious food, housing, or childcare.
Director, Campus Wellness The Wellness Resources Database32 is updated with information in Appendix E, specifying resources tailored to Black, Indigenous, and other racialized individuals.

CoSMH has completed relevant recommendations:

#19 – Develop an integrated and marketing and communications plan to inform students about all the available support options, including implementing opt-in information sharing and transition programming during orientation for incoming students living with mental illness and creating a centrally maintained database of available supports for students.

#20 – Make information and resources about mental health easy to find, including: implementing one platform to access services and supports, developing a comprehensive list of peer supports on campus and provide opportunities for knowledge sharing, enhancing existing peer support resources, and clearly describing available mental health resources in the Region.

40 | When students are referred to community services, a proper follow-up should be conducted to ensure that the students’ needs have been met in a culturally appropriate and satisfactory manner. Director, Campus Wellness A tracking system that logs all students’ commentary and satisfaction with community-referred services is developed.  
41 | UWaterloo Chaplains should expand the number of faith traditions it represents to meet the needs of the University’s diverse population, as spiritual wellness supports are important to members of racialized groups. In addition, this campus unit should consider a more inclusive name for spiritual leaders other than “chaplains”. Director, Campus Wellness Significant gaps in faith traditions in the University are assessed and addressed. The UWaterloo Chaplains represent eleven different faith traditions.
42 | Extend services to students’ immediate family members, if deemed appropriate for the wellness of students. When appropriate, ensure family members are referred to appropriate community organizations.  Associate Provost, Students A list of criteria, for when services need to be extended to students’ immediate family members or when these family members need to be referred to community services, is developed.  
43 | Ensure healthcare practitioners have diverse cultural, linguistic, and faith/ spiritual backgrounds to provide culturally responsible and safe services that are reflective of the diversity of students. Director, Campus Wellness See Recommendation 7 (framework to be used for restricted/priority hirings). The University has hired Counsellors for Black and Indigenous Student Support.
44 | Increase the number of counseling sessions for students and/or evaluate ways to refer students to community counselling services, as deemed necessary by clinical analysis, as the six-sessions counseling model may be insufficient to address certain challenges. Director, Campus Wellness A list of criteria, for when the six-session model is insufficient and students will require additional sessions and/or need to be referred to community counselling services, is developed.  
45 | Develop culturally sensitive and responsible programs (e.g., group therapy workshops, seminar programs, and peer health educational programs) to address the unique challenges faced by racialized students, in particular racial trauma. Use names for these workshops and programs that are not perceived as stigmatizing by non-Western cultures. Offer them during vulnerable times. Director, Campus Wellness Pilot a group therapy workshop or a peer health educational program for racialized student groups, ensuring that best practices are employed.  

46 | Explain counselling and health services intake processes on the internal website with greater clarity:

a) Provide transparency about the process of switching counselors and transferring to an off-campus service.

Director, Campus Wellness Additional information on the process of switching counselors and transferring to an off-campus service is included on the Campus Wellness “Individual Appointments” webpage.  
47 | Provide information to community members, especially faculty, to recognize when students could benefit from wellness checks and might need mental health support. Director, Campus Wellness Mental health training, to ensure that faculty have appropriate and timely information to support students, should be available to all faculty. CoSMH has completed a relevant recommendation (#17) – Ensure that faculty have appropriate and timely information to support students, by making mental health training part of the on-boarding process for new faculty, strongly encourage mental health training in existing faculty, and providing clear guidelines to instructors regarding who they can contact about a student’s welfare.
48 | Build relationships, trust, safety, and communications: Develop and implement a communication and engagement strategy for connecting with Black, Indigenous, and other racialized persons.
49 | Cultural context: Decolonize the Wellness Collaborative’s understanding of and approaches to wellness, specifically mental wellness, by consulting with wellness professionals and traditional knowledge keepers from different cultures and incorporating various cultural perspectives on wellness in programs and initiatives.
50 | Priorities: The wellness priority areas should be informed by additional consultations with Black, Indigenous and racialized individuals, equity-deserving groups, and other relevant groups for revising (or redeveloping) priorities.
Chair, Wellness Collaborative

A communication and engagement strategy is developed for the purpose of:

  • connecting with Black, Indigenous, and other racialized persons.
  • decolonizing the WC’s understanding of and approaches to wellness
  • and revising its priorities.

Also, see Recommendation 5.

51 | Terminology and approach: Identify the systemic barriers or inequities caused by social and structural determinants of health that may negatively impact the inclusion of equity deserving groups in WC and engage in actions that proactively mitigate the identified barriers or inequities. Chair, Wellness Collaborative A study to identify and address systemic barriers or inequities is conducted/commissioned.  
52 | History and current socio-political realities: Wellness Collaborative Advisory Committee and Community of Practice members should participate in educational programs and learning activities. Chair, Wellness Collaborative Members of the WC Collaborative Advisory Committee and Community of Practice members enroll in at least one anti-racism training program offered through EDI-R. Relevant trainings are available through the Office of EDI-R and IR.
53 | Support indigenization: Review, adopt and enact relevant health-related calls to action (i.e., no. 18 to 24) from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC’s) report. Chair, Wellness Collaborative A plan to enact relevant health-related calls to action, in collaboration with Office of IR, is developed.  
54 | Incorporate equity, diversity, and inclusion: Ensure the racial and cultural composition of the WC Advisory Committee and Community of Practice reflect the demographic of the community they serve. Chair, Wellness Collaborative At least one racialized faculty, student, or staff is a member of the WC Advisory Committee. The WC Advisory Committee includes a Black student and an Indigenous student.

55 | Evaluation and sustainability:

a) Use program evaluative tools to identify intended and unintended impacts of the WC’s work on racialized persons and other equity-deserving groups.
b) Develop process and outcome success indicators that apply to Black, Indigenous, and other racialized persons.
Chair, Wellness Collaborative A program evaluation (e.g., a health equity impact assessment) of the WC’s priority areas is conducted/commissioned.  

29These trainings could be provided in collaboration with the EDI-R Office or with external institutions.

30An additional/alternative metric could be the number/proportion of healthcare providers and counsellors who have completed at least one of the recommended training programs.

31The ceremonial fire grounds and medicine garden on campus are a sacred space and should be honoured and respected as such.