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A Systemic Approach to Student Mental Health: An Introduction

The premises outlined in the Guide is to inform the development of a systems wide approach to create a campus environment that is conducive to mental health and learning. Such an approach:

  • Is comprehensive, and views the whole campus as the domain to be addressed and as responsible for enhancing and maintaining the mental health of community members; extends the focus beyond the individual and strategies such as treatment, skill building and awareness to the whole campus including its environment, organizational structure, policies and practices.

  • Creates environmental conditions for the flourishing of all students that are grounded in values of social equity and sustainability; supports integrated development and capacity building; provides targeted programs for students who would benefit from assistance; and provides specialized services for students experiencing mental health issues.

  • Is student–directed, grounded in values of informed choice and inclusion of students’ voices in strategy development and decision-making, especially of students with lived experiences of mental health issues.

  • Involves all stakeholders in a collective, shared responsibility for creating campus environmental conditions that support student learning and mental health.


The following key components for student mental health strategy development were formulated from this review:

  1. Institutional Structure: Organization, Planning and Policy
  2. Supportive, Inclusive Campus Climate and Environment
  3. Mental Health Awareness
  4. Community Capacity to Respond to Early Indications of Student Concern
  5. Self-Management Competencies and Coping Skills
  6. Accessible Mental Health Services
  7. Crisis Management


“Empowering students to participate actively in maintaining their well-being as well as addressing mental health issues sets the foundation for increased ability to sustain wellbeing throughout their lives.”

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