Hi my name is Peter Headley I serve as a
director of student affairs and services at the University of Saskatchewan in
Canada, I’ve spent my career supporting student learning in higher education in
both the UK and Canada, in recent years mental health and wellness have become
critical issues in higher education media reports suggest we’re in the midst
of a mental health crisis on our campuses we’re certainly seeing record
rates of anxiety and depression in our increasingly diverse student populations
campus counseling centers are reporting unprecedented demand for services more
students than ever before are registering for supports and accommodations for
invisible disabilities typically related to mental health diagnosis suicidal
ideation amongst university student populations has also become a
significant concern reports tell us that one to two percent of Canadian
University students attempt suicide each year and in the UK the suicide rate is
estimated to be four point seven deaths per 100,000 University students the
majority of these students are male and it’s not just students University staff
and faculty are struggling – research suggests that rates of mental illness
and academic staff can be up to three to four times higher than in the general
population and many staff in academic units and student services are also
feeling the strain from increased pressures and struggling with their own
health while the sector recognizes the need to make things better finding the
resources to do so remains challenging and progress is slow here at the
University of Saskatchewan recognizing the issues our campus community was
facing we set ourselves the ambitious goal of creating and implementing a
wellness strategy to support the health and well-being of everyone on campus
students faculty and staff within two years. As we developed our own framework we recognized that traditional approaches
to wellness tended to be siloed dividing supports and approaches between students
and employees as if one has no relation with the other. There was also typically
a differentiation between physical and mental health which we recognized to be
often unhelpful for those needing support part of the barrier to people
getting help they needed was around stigma and talking about mental health
issues for fear of judgment or repercussions, it was clear that our
focus needed to be on shifting the culture resources and supports from
being largely reactive to being preventative and promotional this would
enable an integrated multi-dimensional approach to wellness on campus as part
of our new bewell brand and approach in my session at the Global Student Living
Conference I will take you through the University of Saskatchewan process of
creating and implementing our wellness strategy I’ll share with you honest
insights into our process and answer key questions such as how can you gain the
necessary support and funding from senior campus leaders how should you
identify the right project team and organize the project how do you find
your wellness experts and champions in your environment how should you approach
developing a framework and writing a strategy and how can you measure success
and demonstrate progress most of all how do you go about rebuilding a plane
that’s already in the air I’ll share the lessons that I’ve learned which I hope
will help you going through your own process of avoiding some of the barriers
and pitfalls we faced I look forward to meeting you and talking to you in London
on June the 25th until then be well