Mental Health Strategy Graphic

June 7, 2021

Post-secondary experts host online summer wellness series

Wellness webinars begin June 17 ahead of return to campus

With the University of Calgary expecting to welcome students and staff back to campus in the fall, maintaining mental wellness during this transition back to “normalcy” is vital.

In this spirit, the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, along with the Campus Mental Health Strategy, kick-starts the fourth annual Summer Wellness Series on June 17. The series features facilitators in research, teaching and administration who will offer insights and lead discussions on pertinent themes in mental health in teaching and learning.

Each webinar features campus community members who have expertise in building resilience, compassion and fortitude.  

The three sessions are:

June 17: Trauma-Informed Teaching Practices Post-COVID

After collectively experiencing a sustained global pandemic, with the impacts felt in diverse and sometimes traumatizing ways, this session will underscore the importance of recognizing that trauma and stress cannot simply be left “at the door” as we return to campus.

Facilitated by Dr. Yuen-ying Carpenter, PhD, senior instructor in the Department of Chemistry and associate head – undergraduate, this webinar will explore how a trauma-informed approach can support students and educators.

The session will provide participants with knowledge around how both trauma and stress responses may impact learning and work. It will also identify opportunities for trauma-informed practices in learning spaces. During this session, participants will be encouraged to discuss relationships between individual and community well-being, and explore connections between equity and trauma-informed practices in higher-education spaces.

Join the webinar on June 17 at 10:45 a.m. Learn more and register here.

July 15: Diversity in Mental Health on Post-Secondary Campuses

Dr. Malinda Smith, UCalgary’s inaugural vice-provost of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), will lead a panel to explore mental health on post-secondary campuses, particularly in the area of EDI. Smith and session panellists will present and discuss research, strategies and practices related to mental health and well-being within our diverse post-secondary context. Culturally relevant mental health services and the challenges that arise in accessibility, as well as the impact of COVID-19, will also be discussed.

Join the webinar on July 15 at 10:45 a.m. Register here.

Aug. 19: Mental Health Check-In: Gearing Up for a New Academic Year

After leading two previous webinars in mental health support, Dr. Keith Dobson, PhD, returns for another mental health check-in, this one centred on gearing up for a new academic year.

Dobson, a professor of clinical psychology and Depression Research Lab lead, will evaluate the current challenges related to mental health on post-secondary campuses in the context of COVID-19, and discuss how to support ourselves and our community while adjusting to change. He will also highlight navigating community and campus resources. A live Q-and-A will follow. The event will be hosted by Chancellor Deborah Yedlin.

Join the webinar on Aug. 19 at 10:45 a.m. Register here.

Resources supporting UCalgary

There is a strong need to support ourselves and each other this summer as we look forward to a return in the fall, says Dr. Andrew Szeto, PhD, Campus Mental Health Strategy director and associate professor in the Department of Psychology.

“We’ve all faced such complex and diverse challenges since the beginning of the pandemic,” he says. “In an already high-stress academic environment, this series is designed to support our campus community through greater connection, better understanding of resources and more tools to seek support and, in turn, help design innovative and supportive learning spaces.”

“As we’ve navigated new modalities and strategies for teaching and learning together, we must continue the dialogue about our well-being,” adds Dr. Natasha Kenny, PhD, senior director, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. “The pandemic has elevated conversations and concerns related to mental health and well-being in post-secondary education — for students, faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars. These sessions will provide an important opportunity for us to connect, to learn from our individual and collective experiences, and to develop strategies for supporting one another into the fall semester.”

About the Campus Mental Health Strategy

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.

Learn more about the Campus Mental Health Strategy and find support

About the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning

The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning is dedicated to better understanding and improving student learning at the University of Calgary. Its mission to strengthen teaching and learning communities, cultures and practices to create extraordinary learning experiences.

Learn more about the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning