University of Calgary
UofC Navigation

Faculty of Arts first to adopt Campus Mental Health Strategy

Committee to identify ways to integrate strategy recommendations tailored to faculty


"It is important we find local strategies that will be most appropriate for our students, staff, faculty and post-doctoral scholars in arts,” says Richard Sigurdson, dean of the Faculty of Arts. Photo by Mark Skogen

By Jennifer Myers
March 7, 2017

On Feb. 9, the Faculty of Arts became the first faculty on campus to formally adopt the Campus Mental Health Strategy. The unanimous vote in favour of the strategy’s adoption signals an important step toward academic units showing support for the strategy and its implementation on campus.

The objective of the Campus Mental Health Strategy is to support the mental health and well-being of all students, faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars and to contribute to building a “community of caring” on campus. The strategy was approved by the Board of Governors and the General Faculties Council in October 2015.

“Adopting the strategy within the Faculty of Arts is not simply for symbolic purposes. It is important we find local strategies that will be most appropriate for our students, staff, faculty and postdoctoral scholars in arts,” says Richard Sigurdson, dean of the Faculty of Arts. “For example, there might be specific things we want to do for people who experience issues of stress around public performances in the performing arts, or students who feel disengaged within large classes. There are different kinds of stress drivers for mental health issues across the faculty.”

Following the formal adoption of the strategy, the Arts Faculty Council also approved a motion for the dean to strike a committee, which will be tasked with identifying ways in which the strategy can be tailored to the Faculty of Arts and create a plan for implementation. It will also look at ways in which pilot projects for the Campus Mental Health Strategy can be implemented within the faculty. The committee will be representative of all staff and student groups within the faculty.

“It shows that this is a really important issue and that the Faculty of Arts cares about its students, staff, faculty and postdoctoral scholars,“ says Andrew Szeto, director of the Campus Mental Health Strategy. “The Faculty of Arts is a leader in this area and I hope that by adopting the strategy, others across campus will do so as well.”

Sigurdson expects the Campus Mental Health Strategy to build upon other wellness initiatives within the faculty, such as those supported by the Arts in Motion Wellness Committee. These existing initiatives are designed to promote health, wellness, work-life balance and well-being through programs, events and information resources.

He says, “The main priority is to make sure those in positions to help people know what resources are available on campus and that they can provide help that is meaningful and effective.”

Join us for a celebratory day of events to promote mental health and wellness in our university family on March 7. For an up-to-the-minute event schedule, visit the Campus Mental Health Strategy website.

The University of Calgary’s Campus Mental Health Strategy is a bold commitment to the importance of mental health and well-being of our university family. Our vision is to be a community where we care for each other, learn and talk about mental health and well-being, receive support as needed, and individually and collectively realize our full potential. If you think you need help, please visit resources here. If you think someone you know needs help, find more information here.