Introduction

How to Access the Facilitator’s Guide, Slides, and Handouts

Starting a Conversation about Mental Health: Foundational Training for Students includes a Facilitator’s Guide, an accompanying PowerPoint slide deck, and handouts to share with participants. You can download the slides here: BCcampus Starting a Conversation about Mental Health [PPTX].

There are also handouts available for download:

There are also two videos you may want to bookmark (and have ready to play in a browser) prior to offering the session:

Starting a Conversation about Mental Health: Foundational Training for Students was developed as part of BCcampus’s Mental Health and Wellness Projects to provide open access resources to increase awareness of mental health and support post-secondary students.

This project was developed with funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training and guidance from an Advisory Group of students, staff, and faculty from B.C. post-secondary institutions. This is one of a series of open education resources on mental health available for the B.C. post-secondary sector.

How To Use This Resource

This training resource is for facilitators presenting a two- to three-hour synchronous session to students at post-secondary institutions.. The training can be offered in person or online, and we invite you to augment the training with your own stories, models, and examples.

The resource includes three components:

Facilitator Guide. This guide includes presentation notes, activities, and scenarios to help you deliver the training. You may want to download the guide to a PDF file prior to giving a session. The guide also has a Getting Ready section with suggestions for preparing, adapting, and modifying the training.

Slide Deck. The Facilitator’s Guide has an accompanying PowerPoint slide deck that you can download from the link at the top of this page. The slides can be formatted to meet your institution’s guidelines or slide deck templates. You may want to add slides or that include the contact information of counselling services, campus helplines, Indigenous student centres, and other services on your campus that support students.

Handouts. The guide also includes handouts that you can share with participants. You may want to format these handouts according to your institution’s guidelines (e.g., colours, fonts, logos). You may also adapt the information in them to reflect the needs and concerns of the group you are addressing.

Detailed Agenda

For a breakdown of the session, see the Detailed Agenda. This agenda assumes that you will offer this training over 2 hours; however, you may want more time and could extend the session to 2.5 or even 3 hours to allow more time for discussion and to give students lots of time to work through the scenarios at the end. Some facilitators may want to offer the training over two sessions. While the training is adaptable, we recommend that you include the sections on Indigenous perspectives on wellness, diversity, and marginalized groups, as it is important to maintain the integrity and diversity of voice in this guide.

Creative Commons License

Starting a Conversation about Mental Health: Foundational Training for Students is an open educational resource and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, unless otherwise indicated. This means you may retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute this resource without permission. If you revise or remix the resource, it is important to include the copyright holder of the original resource and the authors of this adapted version.

Attribution Statement

Starting a Conversation about Mental Health: Foundational Training for Students is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Why Mental Health and Wellness Training for Students?

For post-secondary students, life is often filled with change, uncertainty, and challenges. Many students are living away from home for the first time and are learning to balance very busy academic schedules with managing finances, building their social circles, and figuring out their interests and future careers. The stress of post-secondary education is felt by all students at some point, and it can be overwhelming for some.

When the National College Health Assessment surveyed Canadian students in 2019, they found that students’ academic performance had been adversely affected by stress (42%), anxiety (35%), sleep difficulties (29%), and depression (24%) within the past 12 months. The same study found that 16% of students had seriously considered suicide over the prior year at least once.[1] People in their late teens and early 20s are also at the highest risk of all age groups for mental illness; in these years, first episodes of psychiatric disorders like major depression are most likely to appear.[2]

Post-secondary institutions are looking at different ways to support students. One strategy is to provide students with training in mental health and wellness to increase awareness and understanding of mental health. Starting a Conversation about Mental Health: Foundational Training for Students provides foundational knowledge on mental health for post-secondary students. We all have a role to play in our own mental health and supporting others’ mental health. By learning how to use mental health language accurately and talking openly about mental health, we can reduce the stigma that is still associated with mental health and mental illness. Students will learn about the stress response and how to manage everyday stresses. They will also learn how they can support other students who are struggling with stress and how they can be a role model for coping with stress and maintaining good mental health.

Who Can Take This Training?

Many of the students who are interested in this training will be in leadership roles (resident assistants, peer group leaders, and teaching assistants), but the session is intended for any student who is interested in learning more about mental health and working to build an inclusive and resilient community at their post-secondary institution.


  1. American College Health Association. (2019). American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Canadian Reference Group executive summary – Spring 2019. American College Health Association.
  2. Queen’s University. (2012). Report of the principal’s commission on mental health. https://www.queensu.ca/principal/sites/webpublish.queensu.ca.opvcwww/files/files/CMHFinalReport.pdf

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Starting A Conversation About Mental Health: Foundational Training for Students by UBC Student Health and Wellbeing Staff; Jewell Gillies; Barbara Johnston; Liz Warwick; Dagmar Devine; Jenny Guild; Arica Hsu; Hamza Islam; Mehakpreet Kaur; Malena Mokhovikova; Jackson Mackenzie Nicholls; and Calla Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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