Supporting Students’ Mental Health

Not a day goes by that we don’t read or hear on the news that we are in the midst of a mental health crisis, particularly for young people. This crisis is exacerbated in the post-secondary sector because of these startling two facts: approximately 80% of psychiatric diagnosis occurs between the ages of 16-24, and fully 80% of Canadians, mostly in this age range, will go to college or university.

What this means for the post-secondary sector is that mental health supports must be increased, strengthened, become more responsive, and go far beyond what have been their limits in the recent past. Students with mental health issues are the largest group of students with disabilities registering with the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities today, and are projected to become larger than all other groups of students with disabilities combined in the near future.

How You Can Help

We are here to help students during the often stressful transitions and adjustments involved in being a university student. This program supports undergraduate and graduate students in the often stressful university experience. We help students to better manage stress and improve their academic performance, by navigating the personal stressors that can often get in the way of school. FIT: Action students meet 1-on-1 with a Coordinator for 1 hour every week for 12 consecutive weeks. Coordinators are staff members or Master’s-level interns trained in counselling and psychotherapy.

Funds to the From Intention to Action (FIT: Action) program will be used to help Carleton students to balance personal and school-related stresses, develop better coping skills and learning strategies for improved academic functioning and a greater sense of well-being.

Participation in the FIT: Action program is voluntary, and these services are provided to students at no cost.

The Impact

Research has shown that working one-on-one with a Coordinator to develop better coping skills can lead to a greater sense of well-being and thus improved academic functioning. Every year, we conduct program evaluation research on FIT: Action to get a sense of whether it ‘works.’ The consensus? It does. Our research consistently shows that:

  1. Academically at-risk students who participate in FIT: Action are significantly more likely to move from Academic Warning to Good Standing than those who do not participate
  2. Students who participate in FIT: Action see significant improvements in mental health (which is not the case for comparison groups of students who do not participate), with those who enter FIT: Action with “impaired” mental health moving to within the “average” range

All FIT: Action students will also benefit from learning more about themselves. Our assessment and feedback session with our Registered Psychologist provide students with a better understanding of their strengths and challenges in personal coping and adjustment skills, academic skills, and study strategies.