Dr. Andrew Szeto, assistant professor, Department of Psychology

Mental health webinars

Learn from experts and mental health advocates in our community.

How diet influences mental health and resilience with Dr. Bonnie J. Kaplan

Improve mental health and resilience by understanding how nutrients impact our brains. With Dr. Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD., professor emeritus, Cumming School of Medicine. 

2021 Campus Mental Health Strategy Progress Event with Dr. Michael Ungar, PhD

This webinar shares the progress made on the Campus Mental Health Strategy, as well as features an open dialogue about finding hope through the challenges we’ve faced during the pandemic. The dialogue features Dr. Michael Ungar, PhD, founder and director of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University, in conversation with members of the UCalgary community. 

Webinars with Dr. Keith Dobson, professor of clinical psychology and Depression Research Lab lead

Ask Dr. Dobson: Mental Health & Well-Being Q&A

Between new year’s resolutions; work, life and school stress; and getting through the doldrums that can be winter months, many people may be experiencing challenges — difficulties navigating among priorities, a lack of energy or motivation, and feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed.

In this webinar, Dr. Keith Dobson, PhD, covered the critical ideas and conceptions related to mental health and well-being, coping strategies, and recent and emerging trends in research and practice, and engaged in an extended Q&A with webinar participants.

Ask Dr. Dobson: Mental Health Q&A

Between final exams, work stress and planning for the holiday season during a pandemic, many people are experiencing challenges — lack of motivation, low energy, depression and anxiety. Learn about tools to help you work through what’s troubling you.

COVID-19 Transitions: Managing Stress and Anxiety

Dr. Keith Dobson shared tips for managing stress and anxiety in transitional times during the pandemic as we returned to work, parents sent kids back to school and UCalgary classes began in September 2020.

Summer Wellness Series

A partnership between the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning and the Campus Mental Health Strategy

Past webinars (2022)

This session explored the potential relationship between well-being and assessment practices, reflecting on the primary role that assessing student academic performance plays within the lives of students and course instructors.

Considering recent scholarship on well-being and student assessment, this session drew on a qualitative study involving post-secondary students’ perceptions of pedagogical stances and teaching practices that support their well-being.

As we reflect on a period of intense change in assessment practices necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we consider how applying an ethics-of-care framework to assessment practices can support student and instructor well-being.

Learning outcomes: 

  • Reflect on the potential impact of assessment decisions on course instructors’ well-being
  • Articulate how assessment practices may enhance or hinder student well-being
  • Apply an ethics-of-care framework to how we engage in assessment processes and practices

Facilitator: Roxanne Ross, director of UCalgary’s Student Success Centre

Working in a post-secondary setting can be rewarding, but it is not without challenges. Ongoing fiscal restraints and the global pandemic have led to more fatigue, stress and anxiety across higher education, presenting challenges to our individual and collective well-being and morale.

To promote flourishing and support the well-being of students, staff, faculty, and postdoctoral scholars, it is increasingly necessary for academic units to meaningfully embed well-being into culture and structure. However, creating, advocating for and sustaining a culture of well-being can be difficult.

In this session, the deans of the Faculty of Nursing and Werklund School of Education, and the associate dean (mental health) of the Schulich School of Engineering discuss how they have worked to intentionally embed well-being into their workplace culture, policies, programs and practices. They will openly discuss the challenges, barriers and resistance they have faced and worked to overcome, and also explore how to re-engage a scholarly community disrupted by COVID-19.

Learning outcomes: 

  • Examine and critique well-being practices in various academic cultures
  • Explore individual roles in contributing to the collective responsibility of well-being for students, staff, faculty and postdoctoral scholars
  • Identify one practice you can action to contribute to strengthen a culture of well-being, from varying organizational levels

Panelists: Dr. Sandra Davidson, PhD., Dr. Dianne Gereluk, PhD., Dr. Kimberly Johnston, PhD.

Past webinars (2021)

Living under a sustained global pandemic has affected us in diverse and sometimes traumatizing ways. Yet, we cannot simply leave past trauma and present-day stressors 'at the door' when we arrive on campus. Instead, we must recognize ways in which our practices support or impede resilience in our learning and working spaces. This session explores how a 'trauma-informed' approach supports students and educators both during and post-pandemic.

Learning outcomes:  

  • Articulate how both stress and trauma responses may affect learning and work
  • Distinguish between saviourism and stewardship when describing relationships between individual and community well-being
  • Apply Venet’s four-priorities model to identify opportunities for trauma-informed practices in our classrooms and broader campus spaces
  • Explain connections between equity and trauma-informed practices in higher education spaces

Facilitator: Dr. Yuen-ying Carpenter, PhD

This webinar will explore the challenges in mental health on post-secondary campuses related to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Dr. Smith, vice-provost of UCalgary’s EDI office and invited panelists will present and discuss research, strategies, and practices in this space, as well as highlight opportunities, and bring forward recommendations. A Q&A with webinar participants will follow.

Learning outcomes:

  • Explore intersectionality as it relates to equity, diversity, inclusion and mental health and well-being in a postsecondary context
  • Explore and discuss the impacts of COVID-19 through the lens of EDI, mental health and well-being in a postsecondary context
  • Understand culturally relevant mental health services and any current barriers to receiving services

Facilitator: Dr. Malinda Smith, PhD, and invited panelists: Kome Odoko, Dr. Bukola Salami, PhD, and Dr. Gregor Wolbring, PhD

This webinar will explore the current challenges related to mental health on postsecondary campuses in the context of COVID-19. Drawing on his clinical expertise and research evidence-base, Dr. Dobson will engage in thoughtful discussion of how we can support ourselves and our community as we enter a new academic year. He will also identify and discuss navigation of community and campus mental health resources. Finally, Dr. Dobson will answer questions related to mental health and wellbeing within the context of COVID-19 from webinar participants.

Learning outcomes:

  • Summarize any learnings since the beginning of the pandemic in terms of mental health
  • Understand the mental health issues that might arise as we return to campus
  • Identify with participants how to incorporate self-care strategies, and find campus and community resources to support mental health
  • Discuss how we can support loved ones and our communities that have been isolated, or otherwise in distress over the past year and a half

Facilitator: Dr. Keith Dobson, PhD

Past webinars (2020)

Facilitated by: Dr. Glory Ovie, PhD

We have all been impacted by COVID-19 pandemic and our anxiety and stress levels increased. We are teaching, learning and working remotely from home with our daily routines and lives disrupted. It is important to manage our disrupted lives by practicing self-care to enhance our well-being. Self-care is a deliberate action taken in order to enhance our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. Self-care manages stress and paves the way for kind, compassionate engagement with the world around you. This webinar aims to discuss different strategies for self-care and have participants develop a personalized self-care plan.

Learning outcomes:

  • Explore the importance of self-care and crisis response
  • Practice some evidence-based strategies for self-care that can enhance their well-being
  • Develop a self-care plan

Facilitated by: Dr. Jennifer Thannhauser, PhD

It is inevitable that we will all experience adversity at some point in our lives. COVID-19 is a shared adversity that we are all learning to navigate. We will discover how resiliency refers to our capacity to adapt or bounce back in the face of such adversity. Resiliency also captures a community’s capacity to provide the appropriate supports and resources to community members that help them successfully navigate through difficult times. The intention of this webinar is to provide participants intentional time to reflect on their own resilience and develop a personalized plan for enhancing one’s resilience.

Learning outcomes:

  • Explore several personal and social factors associated with resiliency
  • Practice evidence-based strategies to enhance personal resiliency
  • Engage in self-reflection activities and apply the concepts discussed 

Facilitated by: Dr. Jacqueline Smith, PhD

Stress and struggles are inevitable and often manageable. However, what about those days when you feel rattled, anxious and unbalanced? We will explore principles of emotional regulation that enhance our ability to successfully handle life’s stressors and adapt to change and difficult times. A general sense of well-being can be realized in the physical, social, occupational, spiritual, financial, and environmental aspects of our lives. This session will increase awareness of how to maintain a sense of emotional wellness and contentment through intentional daily practices, relaxation techniques, resilience skills and lifestyle modifications.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify four principles associated with emotional wellness
  • List four practices that support emotional regulation
  • Understand how neuroplasticity can create new pathways in our brain

Facilitator: Dr. Linda Carlson, PhD

In this webinar, Dr. Linda Carlson (professor in the Faculty of Medicine and co-author of The Art and Science of Mindfulness) will discuss the ways in which mindfulness can be used as a coping strategy to help reduce stress as we work through the COVID-19 pandemic. She will define mindfulness, give research-based examples of how it can reduce stress and change your brain, and guide you through several mindfulness practices that can be beneficial in your everyday professional and personal lives, and especially during times of crisis. 

Learning Outcomes:

  • Gain an introductory understanding of the roots, definition and benefits of mindfulness
  • Utilize practical skills in cultivating present moment awareness to build resilience, compassion, and empathy
  • Discover several mindfulness-based applications to use at work and at home for personal wellbeing