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Student Mental Health: Building a network of support

The Tri-Campus Student Mental Health Team was established in 2022 in response to the recommendations of the Presidential and Provostial Task Force Report on Student Mental Health. The team, led by Chris Bartha, Senior Executive Director, Student Mental Health, Systems Strategy and Policy, collaborates on a range of projects, with the goal of improving the quality and impact of student mental health services at UofT. With many partners, including the three university health centres, the team leads and collaborates on initiatives that support student access to equitable, high quality mental health resources.

Since 2020, the majority of the task force recommendations have been actioned across UofT, with additional plans underway.

Highlights of progress

  • Access: Wait times for in-person or online counseling have been eliminated, so that students can request these services on the same or next day.
  • Growth in service capacity: A tri-campus model to increase access to same-day counselling was implemented in 2021, and since then there has been a 23% increase in the number of mental health appointments provided. Expanding this capacity is important, given 50% of appointment requests are for mental health related concerns.
  • Student satisfaction: A 2022 survey of students who have used the health centres services indicates a good overall level of satisfaction — an encouraging finding.
  • Responding to student needs: UofT has prioritized helping students find the resources they need through three key initiatives including: Navi, Telus Health Student Support, and improvements in access to health center counselling. The combined impact has been to double the capacity of UofT to respond to student needs.
  • Addressing complexity: UofT has partnered with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to establish the University of Toronto Navigation (UTN) Service. Students using CAMH’s hospital services are offered a customized support that eases their transition back to university. This same model will be developed for UTSC and UTM students with local hospitals in these regions.
  • Student Mental Health Advisory Committee: Within OVPS, a new Student Advisory Committee with a diverse tri-campus membership has been launched. The committee will provide ongoing feedback on specific issues related to the student mental health strategy.

Future work

While progress has been made in improving mental health supports and services, there is still work to do. The tri-campus Student Mental Health Team will continue to deepen its partnerships with the campus health centres, Inlight, the Student Mental Health Research Initiative, and many other staff and academic colleagues across UofT.

The Tri-Campus Team

Chris BarthaSenior Executive Director, Student Mental Health, Systems Strategy and Policy
Sarah BrennenstuhlSenior Research Associate, Data Strategy
Kaylin LivshinSpecial Projects Advisor
Andrea LevinsonTri-Campus Psychiatric Lead
Do Anh VuTri-Campus IT Lead
Kirsty ClarkeCommunications Officer
Katherine TillerExecutive Assistant to Senior Executive Director
Suze TurnbullExecutive Assistant to Senior Executive Director (on leave)

Associated Colleagues

Erin KraftcheckDirector, UTM Health & Counselling Centre
Shari Russell OparaDirector, UTSC Health & Wellness Centre
Janine RobbExecutive Director, UTSG Health & Wellness Centre

Resources for Students

In addition to counselling services, students looking for mental health resources can use three resources that guide students to additional information:

  1. Navi, a chatbot to help navigate resources
  2. Telus Health Student Support, an app that includes information and phone counselling services available in 146 languages
  3. The U of T Student Mental Health Resource website, a guide to tri-campus resources