Student Mental Health and Well-being Strategy Phase II Student Advisory Committee: Application Form
APPLICATIONS ARE EXTENDED UNTIL 5PM ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH, 2019.

In February 2015, after over 18 months of consultation, research and analysis, McMaster launched its Student Mental Health and Well-being Strategy (MSMHWBS). Five priority areas were identified and significant progress was made on these, focused primarily on building capacity (i.e., services, systems) within Student Affairs and trying to improve awareness, access and systems for students with mental health concerns.

Over the past four years the mental health landscape has changed and while access is an ongoing challenge, and demand for services continues to escalate, new educational opportunities and technologies and partnership opportunities are emerging, and our knowledge about mental health in the context of post-secondary education has evolved. Many are asking questions like - how can we reduce or prevent negative stress and distress, improve mental health and well-being, and possibly reduce mental health and substance use problems or the impact of these issues on personal and academic success and well-being among students at McMaster?

We are now entering a Phase 2 of the MSHWB Strategy, which is being led by Dr. Catharine Munn, guided by an Advisory Committee chaired by the Acting Provost, Susan Searls-Giroux, and we will seek to address some of these questions, in part by expanding the focus beyond Student Affairs into teaching and learning environments, with specific attention being paid to engaging and educating educators (faculty and instructors) and navigators (those in roles supporting students), to benefit students. As a key mechanism to provoke engagement and change, I have also chosen to strike a MSMHWBS Student Advisory Committee with leaders, Zeinab Khawaja and Michelle Ogrodnik, both of whom have extensive knowledge of our campus, from various perspectives, and who sit on and will report in to the overarching Strategy Advisory Committee.

One of the strategy priorities is the implementation of training called the Professor Hippo-on-Campus, Student Mental Health Education Program, which seeks to engage and educate educators and navigators about student mental health, as appropriate to their roles, and will begin in Fall 2019. The strategy will also target more systemically the partnerships, conditions and pedagogies that are effective in creating a mental health positive academic experience for students.

We are hoping that students, from diverse backgrounds and perspectives selected for this committee, will be willing to provide input, feedback and consultation on matters being addressed by the Advisory Committee. In particular, we anticipate that the Student Advisory Committee will be interested in informing, innovating and partnering with others to advise on, identify and create educational opportunities, approaches and resources which will engage and educate everyone on our campus about issues of student mental health, mental illness and well-being more broadly. Student mental health and well-being is a key and current consideration and interest for many across campus, and in order to discover innovative, student- and evidence-informed ways to engage and improve it, students must be at the table.

We welcome all interested students to apply for this committee, including persons with disabilities, First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons, members of racialized communities, women and LGBTQ+ community members. Importantly, if you are not selected, there will be more opportunities to become engaged and participate, and we will be sure to inform and reach out to all those who apply or express interest as we move forward.

For those who are selected, we are expecting to meet for 1.5 hours approximately once every 6 weeks, with additional tasks and consultations as needed. Our first meeting will be on Wednesday, October 2nd, from 4:30pm – 6pm. Please ensure that you are available for this first important meeting before applying.

If you have any questions about the Student Advisory Committee or the application, please contact Michelle Ogrodnik (ogrodnm@mcmaster.ca) or Zeinab Khawaja (khawaz@mcmaster.ca).

Applications are extended until Thursday, September 19th at 5pm.

Thank you and sincerely,

Catharine Munn, M.Sc., M.D., F.R.C.P.(C)
Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences
Lead, McMaster Student Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy (Phase 2)
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