Poster Presentations

Poster Presentations

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and post-secondary institutions announced their closure and faculty were required to shift immediately to remote delivery of classes. The impacts of this transition were emotionally, physically, and mentally taxing for learners and educators; however, much less attention has been paid to faculty. The current qualitative study aimed to explore the pandemic’s mental health and well-being effects on educators belonging to a Canadian undergraduate University. Fifteen instructors consented to be interviewed, and they were asked to share one or two moments in each a high, low, and turning point during their time teaching through the pandemic. Instructors reflected on the transition to remote teaching; increased workload; lack of healthy work-life balance; managing a virtual learning space; changes to and management of student, colleague, and personal relationships; negative impacts on mental health; safety concerns upon returning to face-to-face instruction; and self-care practices to safeguard their well-being.

Undergraduate university students have faced an abundance of stressors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, which have the potential to exacerbate feelings of loneliness and depression, which are linked to cannabis use. We are interested in understanding how other factors such as social support and unsupportive interactions relate to cannabis use in this population. This poster will present data obtained from undergraduate students at Carleton University and will illustrate the relationship between cannabis use and social factors such as depression, loneliness, social support, and unsupportive social interactions. The findings of this project allow researchers to determine what may be a protective factor in cannabis use patterns or what may negatively influence these same patterns. CITATIONS: Alexis St Pierre, Alfonso Abizaid, Robert Gabrys, Zachary Patterson, Robyn McQuaid & Kim Hellemans

To promote student, staff and faculty engagement on campus, this poster is aimed at providing tangible solutions to build emotional resilience and social connection. It is normal to get agitated and upset since we are often not in control of our thoughts and feelings. Yet, neither at home, nor at school, are we taught how to manage our emotions. Here, our breath has a lot to teach us. Our emotions are linked with the rhythm of our breath. If we know how our breathing patterns can impact our mind then we can be in charge of our emotions. Through the ‘SKY Campus Happiness’, an empirically validated comprehensive well-being program that incorporates evidence-based breathwork taught at over 108 campuses in North America, the participants are equipped with the ‘Science of Breath’.

From renaming universities to hiring more Black and Indigenous staff, changes are being made on university campuses across so-called Canada. However, there are many more changes that need to be made. In the journey to better campus culture and the mental health of Black and Indigenous students, it is necessary to understand the implications of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism within Western pedagogy and the psychological consequences of systemic oppression (Angela Jones, Ph.D.). This poster describes the ways in which Black and Indigenous students can be best supported in the use of culture-based research methodologies as well as encouraged to learn from authors, speakers, and activists that share similar identities and philosophies. This poster presentation leaves participants with starter questions to facilitate the brainstorming of philosophers and ideologies which come from both Black studies and Indigenous worldviews in order to encourage the consideration of when and where these ideas can be used to benefit Black and Indigenous students.

Applying healthy communication fosters a balance of collaboration and personal wellness for professionals, leaders and lifelong learners. When organizations capitalize on powerful communication strategies, they get better results. This poster describes how effective communication leads to solutions for mitigating barriers to equitable practices while increasing the ability to better leverage the team, and fostering a collective initiative to improve advocacy toward inclusion, engagement and retention. This poster presentation explores educational opportunities partnered with intentional communication practices that promote accessibility and contribute to positive outcomes for professionals, leaders, advocates and lifelong learners.

Significant gaps persist in mental health treatment for students, exacerbated by the pandemic, during which we have seen increasing demand for services and symptom severity, while at the same time more limited access to traditional in-person services. Ontario pivoted its post-secondary therapist-guided cognitive behaviorial therapy program to include self-referral and peer-to-peer and engagement increased dramatically with over 11,000 students supported in the last 2 years. The program has proven effective across all genders, ages, orientations, protocols and symptom severities. Students were able to access support outside office hours and for over half it was a gateway in to their first experience with counselling. What insights can we learn from this and the significant amount of socio-demographic and mental health data collected? The psychological impacts of a crisis last 3 years past the crisis itself – what implications do we see for addressing health equity, COVID recovery and diversity and inclusion?

Prevalence estimates for stress, psychological distress, and symptoms of mental illnesses are increasing among Canadian post-secondary students. Demand for mental health services has outpaced many institutions’ capacities to deliver timely care, demonstrating a need for more upstream supports to bolster students’ mental health and reduce overall need for more intensive downstream treatment. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s increasingly important to facilitate digital access to effective mental health promotion. Canada’s Student Mental Health Network is a one-stop, online shop for mental health education and evidence-based resources, tailored to post-secondary students. The Network targets three outcomes: learn (improved mental health education), connect (strong social support networks), and access (improving awareness of available resources). The goal is to empower students across Canada to manage and maintain their health and well-being by delivering universal mental health promotion in a space collaboratively developed and curated “by students, for students”.

High levels of distress and growing rates of mental health disorders are occurring among post-secondary students (PSS), which demand diverse and innovative strategies and increased campus mental health literacy. Graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs) are often approached by struggling undergraduates and are well-positioned to support them in navigating to mental health resources, however TAs may not feel prepared or confident to do so. This poster focuses on an adaptation of the Professor Hippo-on-Campus Student Mental Health Education Program at McMaster University designed for faculty, including e-modules and a new workshop co-designed with and for TAs. This program intends to support graduate TAs in effectively responding to students in distress and difficulty, while protecting their own mental health. In this poster, we will show the co-design process and key quantitative and qualitative outcomes, promoting reflection on building TA’s mental health literacy

With the recent global pandemic, publicly-funded eating disorder care has been impacted tremendously. Similarly, research suggests that eating disorder (ED) prevalence has increased due to the pandemic. With the lack of availability for treatment for those struggling with EDs, it is necessary for universities to help in reducing the burden for those navigating recovery. In this poster, we outline evidence-based tools, techniques and support available to prepare staff, faculty and health care providers to be better equipped in ED detection and treatment on campus. Based on recent and relevant research, this poster will educate campus members and build a foundational knowledge of eating disorder care, preparing universities to confidently face obstacles as they arise and help those affected to access support in a timely manner.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Targeting frontline staff, faculty members, and community support staff, this poster will present a strategy to encourage the dismantling of traditional pedagogy and the learning environments subsequently created. The ideas presented in this poster will challenge audience members to boldly reimagine their practice and create meaningful experiences that inspire student engagement.”

This poster will show the findings of our Cross Canada research project conducted by students that seeks to learn about the experiences of online and offline hate experienced by Canadian university students. They collected data by surveying students from post-secondary institutions in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. By learning about student experiences, they examined the varying types of hate students may experience on campus, how the university responds to hate on their campus, how students and the university understands hate, and whether experiences of hate changes online/offline. With the data collected, they wanted to increase awareness of the different degrees of hate on university campuses and help improve the universities’ anti-hate and anti-racism frameworks. This project is funded by Wisdom2Action’s Youth Engaged in Prevention Program, directed by Dr. Dennis Stuebing and supported by the mentorship of Dr. Ghayda Hassan from CPN-PREV.

During the pandemic, students have struggled to meaningfully connect with each other and with their department. Two initiatives that were developed by faculty and staff in a graduate department at the University of Toronto to foster connection and belonging outside of the virtual classroom will be shared. The first would be a mobile app and online workshop series developed to allow newly admitted students to connect with each other, with senior students, and with faculty and staff prior to their studies, and to familiarize themselves with their new learning environment; and the second would be an online Self-Care Challenge ran bi-annually to encourage students, staff and faculty to support each other’s wellness and well-being where members of their department engage in and document daily self-care activities and share them online with each other. Both initiatives promote members of their community getting to know each other outside of the classroom and learning creative ways to support themselves and each other.

An emerging concern among university student wellness departments is an increase in students seeking mental health care for the first time during their final year of school. Students who present to campus mental health services during their final year may only have limited time to interact with campus resources before graduating and will have to transition to community care within a short period of time. Enhancing self-efficacy may: 1) influence students to seek care earlier allowing for more time with campus resources, and 2) represent a valuable capacity to find community care after they have transitioned from University or during periods of living remotely (e.g. COVID-19 lockdowns, summer break).

Self-efficacy (SE) reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behaviour, and social environment; SE is a consistent modifiable determinant of health behaviours. Programs to enhance SE in seeking mental healthcare may be especially valuable to students as they transition in or out of university and are faced with new environments, social structures and barriers. This analysis assessed whether an existing mental healthcare SE scale retained structural and external aspects of validity in a North American University sample (n=258 graduating students). Confirmatory factor analysis supported the original authors’ suggestion of two related sub-factors. SE scores were correlated to stronger self-reported knowledge of where to access both campus-based and off-campus mental health resources. Among students who met thresholds for clinically relevant scores of anxiety or depression, higher SE scores were associated with being more likely to have accessed formal support for their emotional or mental health.

Our informational poster will highlight how our school embodies Indigenous worldviews and teachings in its delivery of services and programming to learners. It will utilize the medicine wheel to showcase the different ways in which Kenjgewin Teg recognizes the interrelatedness between student wellness and student engagement. It will outline different aspects of overall wellness and demonstrate how Kenjgewin Teg meets those aspects for learners. At the centre of our wheel is an emphasis on Mino Bimaadiziwin (“Living the Good Life”) and keeping our shkoodeh (“inner fire”) shining bright.

Graduate students face many unique stressors which can lead to feelings of loneliness as well as mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. With the increase in problematic drug use observed since the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to determine how social factors relate to problematic cannabis use. This poster will present data obtained from a sample of Canadian graduate students, demonstrating how variables such as loneliness, depression, anxiety, and social support and unsupportive interactions from both friends and family predict problematic cannabis use.

Good2Talk is a free, confidential helpline for post-secondary students in Ontario that provides professional counselling and information and referral services for mental health, addictions and well-being services. Traditionally a French/English bilingual program, Good2Talk began providing its services in a third language, Mandarin in 2020 to enable more callers to receive support in their preferred language. This poster presents the findings of an evaluation of the Good2Talk Mandarin language services pilot. Administrative processes (resources, staff and callers) and implementation processes (helpline calls and staff trainings on working with interpreters and cultural humility) were evaluated using call metric data, interviews and surveys. The findings indicate that many factors supported the provision of quality services to callers seeking Good2Talk Mandarin services and that Good2Talk staff responded creatively to perceived challenges. Recommendations for responsively providing mental health and addictions services to students preferring to be served in Mandarin and other languages are described.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Ontario Shores is collaborating with CMHA Manitoba Winnipeg to develop a Speaker’s Bureau for post-secondary students who are passionate about raising awareness and reducing stigma associated with navigating wellness. We hope that these advocates will share their valuable expertise navigating wellness strategies through the post-secondary experience to high school students, first years, or individuals who are considering pursuing post-secondary studies.

The objectives of this initiative are to

  • Educate others by sharing their personal stories
  • Reduce stigma/shame related to mental health challenges
  • Help communities recognize and leverage our shared humanity

We have engaged students in a peer-led process to co-design training for speakers to share their experiences in a way that is beneficial for them and their audiences. This poster will provide 1) an overview of the visions for the Post-Secondary Speaker’s Bureau 2) lessons learned from the co-design process and 3) next steps moving forward with this initiative.”

We graduate nursing students into an extremely stressful profession already on the verge of burnout because of how we educate them, in essence perpetuating the current crisis. Nursing school approaches are often oppressive, full of outdated rules, coming from a very colonial perspective. Many nursing students do live with mental health diagnoses, and their schooling can make these worse. If we change our view, think about how we socialize and support these new members of our profession, will we then change in some small way what is currently happening within our healthcare settings. This poster will present work underway to consider how to shift nursing education.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion is a national charity that works with young people to identify and dismantle barriers to positive mental health and youth help-seeking across Canada. In 2018, created the Campus Assessment Tool (CAT), a participatory research project for post-secondary mental health advocates, which provides a framework, tools, coaching and expertise to help students identify different services and systems on their campus and engage with decision-makers at their institutions in mental health promotion work. Over the past three years, twenty-five post-secondary schools across Canada have participated in the CAT, with twelve more currently undertaking the CAT this year. In this session,’s Knowledge Translation Lead, Post-Doctoral Fellow, and a student participant from the 2021-22 cohort will describe how students are effectively engaged throughout the project, what we’ve learned from the process, what students have discovered about campus mental health through their research, along with future research directions.

The Student Health in Final-Year Transitions (SHIFT) Study aims to assess the mental health needs of final-year postsecondary students preparing to graduate and inform the development of resources to support successful navigation of this transitionary phase. We will present survey results from students graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, 53% and 43% had clinically relevant anxiety and depressive symptoms, respectively, and a large proportion were within the subthreshold level. The top barrier to accessing support on-campus was scheduling/wait times. Primary concerns about accessing community support after graduation were financial costs (51.6%) and not knowing how or where to access services (35.0%). When asked how they would like to be supported in the transition from campus-based to community-based mental health services, students were most receptive to informational resources of available services to follow-up on their own (57.3%), 46.7% selected continued access to campus-based services over the transition, and 41.3% indicated direct referral.

This poster will provide an overview of the history and philosophy of the exciting Recovery College movement. More specifically, this poster will outline the partnership between Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences and Ontario Tech University which brought Recovery College into the post-secondary space to promote student engagement and wellness. We will highlight the continued expansion of this initiative, including next steps

The following poster presentation will describe the significant outcomes of a university-community partnership between CAPSA and Carleton University, implementing a new support service for both students and faculty, called All People All Pathways (established by CAPSA in 2014), in which addresses the common barriers faced with respect to accessing services and supports related to substance use, such as the need to self-diagnose and identify through self-labeling, as well as the requirement to have a predetermined goal of abstinence to attend. Originally offered in-person, these meetings have expanded to an online format through the Wellness Together Canada portal and among student populations at Carleton University, University of Saskatchewan, and Algonquin College. Additionally, we will showcase wider stigma reduction collaborations through guest lectures and research partnerships, Capstone Student Field Placements, the “Stigma Ends at CU” student club, and the adoption of new strategies in Carleton University’s Mental Health Framework, in promoting a safe environment and increasing the health and wellness of students.

Through their strategic and academic plans, colleges and universities signal their intentions and expectations regarding learner engagement. Rarely do they compare their goals to learners’ actual lived experiences. In this poster presentation, learn how to connect the dots between and value learners’ lived experiences of and mental health implications of their interactions with curriculum and pedagogy. Discover ways to use curriculum and pedagogy as tools to support learner well-being. This poster proposes adding a human element to cyclical program quality reviews in order to take best practices to the next level by incorporating learner mental health and well-being as an institutional and program success factor.

Postsecondary institutions are being presented with an opportunity to create systemic change by aligning on the best practices of mental health equity. Indigenous students are facing unique mental health challenges and experience intersectionality of the social determinants of health, exacerbated by the pandemic (Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2021). As we see an increase in Canadian Indigenous students, Western approaches to mental health care are not an appropriate solution (Sutherland & Adams, 2019).

Using a scoping review to create a whole-of-campus framework, we identify and assess the best practices of Indigenous wellness currently implemented. Supporting vulnerable Indigenous students at the policy, program and individual-service levels should be a priority in making strides toward mental health equity. Community participation and consultation, cultural humility and representation as well as incorporation of holistic approaches are critical. This research can help standardize decolonization practices and assist institutions applying equity practices in their recovery planning.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Created by the Youth Cannabis Awareness Program, this visual poster offers a snapshot of the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis use patterns among young adults in Canada. Learn about the prevalence of cannabis use versus other substances as well as the potential risks of mixing substances together. Examine the trends in preferred methods of cannabis consumption and why it is important to know the difference between these methods. Learn about how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted consumption habits among college-age adults, and why these changes occurred. Finally, we will examine all of this information and more to identify harm reduction strategies regarding cannabis use with a focus on positive development and safe, informed decision making.