Getting Started

The Mental Health Continuum

Mental Health Continuum Chart for Mobile Devices
continuum groups self care to professional care


Normal Functioning

Normal mood fluctuations. Takes things in stride. Consistent performance. Normal sleep patterns. Physically and socially active. Usual self-confidence Comfortable with others.


Common & Reversible Distress

Irritable/Impatient. Nervousness, sadness, increased worrying. Procrastination, forgetfulness. Trouble sleeping (more often in falling asleep) Lowered energy. Difficulty in relaxing. Intrusive thoughts. Decreased social activity.


Significant Functional Impairment

Anger, anxiety. Lingering sadness, tearfulness, hopelessness, worthlessness. Preoccupation. Decreased performance in academics or at work. Significantly disturbed sleep (falling asleep and staying asleep). Avoidance of social situations, withdrawal.


Clinical Disorder. Severe & Persistent Functional Impairment.

Significant difficulty with emotions, thinking High level of anxiety, Panic attacks. Depressed mood, feeling overwhelmed Constant fatigue. Disturbed contact with reality Significant disturbances in thinking Suicidal thoughts/ intent/behaviour.

Self Care to Professional Care

Quick Facts about Mental Illness


Feelings of stress are a normal part of life. Stress is what gets us up in the morning and keeps us moving forward. Many postsecondary students report feelings of stress before big events such as an exam, a class presentation, a job interview, a new job, a wedding or party, or in times of financial worries. Stress helps keep us awake and on our toes, ready for action.

But sometimes, too much stress can leave a person feeling anxious, on edge, worried. It can also give rise to other symptoms such as headaches, stomach upsets, back pain, trouble sleeping, and trouble concentrating on a task. Stress can even cause some health problems.

This can happen during exam week or during a relationship problem or when for some reason a person feels he or she has failed and can’t get back on track. The reasons can vary from individual to individual. Sometimes too much stress can lead to mental health issues where our ability to complete life daily activities becomes compromised.

We all have coping strategies that help us manage our stress and stay in balance. But sometimes, when there is too much stress we can be out of balance. When anyone is stressed, it’s easy to eliminate some of the items that help us stay in balance and managing stress.

Signs of too much stress:

  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Reduced concentration
  • Difficulty with memory and organization
  • Anxiety
  • Undue anger
  • Physical problems such as insomnia, stomach problems, headaches
  • Poor judgment
  • Moodiness
  • Isolating from others

Teachers and other staff are in unique positions to both mitigate stressors in the environment while also reacting to others in obvious stress. When performance or behaviour is a cause for concern, suggest that the person talk things over with a counsellor or advisor or someone else they trust.

For more information about stress:

Anxiety Disorders

Many of us feel some type of anxiety during certain situations. The anxious feelings may be caused by a combination of life events such as exams, a traumatic event, personal loss, and ∕ or biological factors such as health problems. For students, there can be many triggers for anxiety. Class presentations, exams, group work, new surroundings away from home, social interactions, emotional relationship break-ups, financial problems; all may impact on an individual to create anxious feelings. If these feelings persist or are intense enough to interfere with activities, a person may have an anxiety disorder. This condition can affect activities of life such as relationships with family, friends, and many academic tasks.

For some people, the anxiety is triggered by brain chemistry and can run in families. In others, certain medical conditions such as anemia and thyroid problems can also cause anxiety. Conditions are further affected by some medications, alcohol, drugs and caffeine.

Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental health problems and are found in about 1 in 10 people. Anxiety disorders can be classed as panic disorder, phobia, social phobia, specific phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. They can come on suddenly as a result of an event in the past or be triggered by a current event. Some form of anxiety is reported by many students. Though they may not have an anxiety disorder, the situations they may find themselves in can cause intense symptoms that can interfere with postsecondary studies, placements and life in general.

Anxiety disorders can be treated. The main approaches are drug therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy or a combination of both. Many people find that meditation and breathing exercises help to control the feelings associated with anxiety. Eating properly, avoiding caffeine, and exercising regularly such as taking a walk all help in addition to the therapies. Often support groups also help manage the impact.

For students experiencing anxiety but not a disorder, a supportive environment can help keep them in balance. Supportive staff, availability of counselling or advising supports and a college environment that provides services and a balance of assistance is helpful. Often students can get past their feelings of anxiety with the right environment.

For more information about anxiety disorders:

Depression (Mood Disorder)

Many people may feel depressed at different times in response to life’s difficulties. But a mood disorder, most commonly called depression, is more than an occasional feeling of being down. Depression is the effort of managing feelings of severe despair for an extended period of time. People in depression have difficulty understanding that there will be a change or help for their situation.

Depression affects every part of a life including academic activities, physical health, social life, work and health in general. People who are experiencing major depression may have some of the following symptoms:

  • Lack of energy
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Appetite loss, or overeating
  • Missing class, events, appointments
  • Difficulty sleeping, always tired
  • Physical problems such as pain, headaches, digestive problems that don’t go away even with treatment
  • Forgetfulness, inability to concentrate
  • Lack of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness or helplessness
  • Sometimes thoughts of suicide

Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from normal functioning. People may have only one episode in their lifetime, while others may have many episodes. There are various types of depression, some caused by chemical imbalances such as seasonal affective disorder, postpartum depression, and psychotic depression. Sometimes the depression starts out as a minor depression for about two weeks and without help, this could develop into a major depressive disorder.

Depression may be caused by a combination of factors, genetic, biological, environmental and psychological. There is help and treatment for this disorder. There are new medications available to help regulate the chemical imbalances causing the depression. Psychotherapies are also important in treating depression.

Often others in the life of a person are the first to notice if a person is depressed; friends, family, teachers all may notice that there are changes. Reaching out a helping hand to discuss any problem is a good first step. Just knowing that someone recognizes and is concerned enough to say something can be a big help.

For more information about depression:

Eating Disorders

Then a person is obsessed with limiting the intake of food to the point of starvation (anorexia), or eating excessive amounts at one time (binge), or purging after eating (bulimia), or even exercising compulsively (anorexia athletic), he or she may have an eating disorder.

People who have eating disorders may be having difficulty with their self-esteem or body image. They may feel that they have some control over their lives by controlling what they eat. While dieting and food intake can be valid decisions at certain times, if taken to excess they could cause serious physical and mental damage.

Eating disorders are more often found in adolescents between the ages of 15-25 though anyone could be affected. Sometimes being away from home such as at college can trigger this response to a need to feel accepted.

Often friends, family or teachers will be the first to notice. Offering to listen, encouraging them to talk to a counsellor or advisor is a good first step.

For more information about eating disorders:


These are complex biochemical brain disorders that often first appear in young adulthood.. Sometimes people experience delusions, hallucinations, hear voices and have feelings of confusion. Only a qualified practitioner can help find the right diagnosis and treatment options.

Often there are clear signs when a person is in an episode that is apparent to teachers, classmates, friends, family and even the general public.

Signs may include:

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Depression
  • Tiredness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety and/or suspiciousness
  • Mood swings (extreme happiness to anger)
  • Reduced ability to focus and feelings of disorientation
  • A dislike to being touched by anyone
  • An extreme sensitivity to noise, light, colours, textures.

During an episode symptoms may include:

  • Increased confusion
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Altered emotions
  • Behavioural changes

If any of these episode symptoms are observed by staff or students, every effort should be made to contact staff designated to assist in these situations. Counselling or advising staff should be notified.

For more information about psychosis:


This is a complex mental illness that changes perception, emotions and behaviour as a result of biological imbalance. Although there is no cure for schizophrenia people are helped by psychosocial treatment and medication.

It is important to understand that when in remission a person may behave relatively normally and can function in society.

Symptoms start slowly usually in young adulthood. Early warning signs may include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Social withdrawal
  • Confused thinking
  • Inability to relax

More serious symptoms may include:

  • Personal appearance deteriorates
  • Loss of interest in school or work or social events
  • Unusual perceptions
  • Sudden excesses
  • Difficulty understanding words in context
  • Hearing voices or seeing people or things that aren’t there
  • Mood swings

Because people with schizophrenia aren’t usually aware of their situation it can be difficult to get them to treatment. Family and friends often support loved ones with these symptoms to get medical treatment.

For more information about psychosis:

Self Injury

Self injury is the act of hurting oneself. The harm is often done through shallow cuts, burns, bruises or other forms of marking the skin. People do this as a coping strategy for psychological pain. They many find that the physical pain of cutting, burning, picking at skin or hair, or punching themselves is a relief from the unbearable pain caused by something in their lives. It’s a way of dealing with deep emotional distress.

Usually self injury is a sign that they don’t have the coping strategies in place to deal with their problems and the self injury provides an outlet for how they are feeling. It may be that feelings of loneliness, depression or anger are causing a buildup of tension.

People who self injure can come from any background. It may impact people who are rich or poor, high school or college students. They may be from any profession. Most often, people who self injure start the behaviour in high school or postsecondary. While this is a serious situation that requires attention and the help of professionals, it is not a cry for attention or a precursor to suicide.

Because self injury is done in private and often in places that can be covered with clothing, people can continue to self harm without anyone knowing. However, family members, close friends and teachers may be the first to notice.

Signs may include:

  • Unexplained wounds or marks or scars near the wrists, arm or legs that are exposed by clothing movement
  • Blood stains on clothing, or tissues
  • Sharp objects such as razors, needles, glass in the person’s belongings
  • Frequent ‘accidents’ to explain injuries
  • Covering up with long sleeves even when the weather is hot
  • Isolation and irritability
  • Wounds that don’t heal due to picking at scabs
  • Puncture marks from items being inserted in the skin
  • Associated behaviours may include reckless driving, binge drinking, unsafe sex and taking too many drugs

If you notice that someone may be self harming try to communicate with the individual and encourage him/her to talk things over with someone they can trust. Counselling and advising staff may be able to assist.

For more information about Self Injury:

Substance Use Disorder

Substance Use Disorders are often started as a way of coping with stress and peer pressures. Students who are away from home and their support network may turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of coping with loneliness, stress or other problems or as a way of feeling as if they could ‘fit in’ with the new social scene.

A person with a mental health problem has a higher risk of also having a substance use problem and this is called a concurrent disorder. Sometimes a person with an anxiety disorder may also have an alcohol problem or be addicted to medications. Medical professionals agree that substance use can make mental health problems worse.

Substance use and abuse is prevalent on campus. Substance abuse can have a profound negative impact on academic progress and the general health of a person.

Some of the common symptoms of substance abuse may include:

  • Impaired judgment and attention
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Sleeplessness, nausea
  • Loss of interest in academic pursuits or achievement

Friends, family and teachers will often observe that a person is consuming harmful substances at a rate that may be impacting general health and academic progress.

When a student is suspected of having difficulty with academics, it is important to suggest that they discuss issues with a counsellor or advisor.

For more information about substance use disorder:


Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 15-24 age group. There is a very high correlation between suicide ideation (thoughts of suicide) and mental illness. It is often the result of feelings of hopelessness or grief. People who complete or attempt suicide can be of any age, gender, or from any social group. However, men are more likely to die by suicide. Most people who die by suicide do not necessarily want to die. They do want the pain they are experiencing to stop.

Who is most likely to be at risk of suicide?

  • People with depression, substance abuse disorder, some other mental disorders
  • A family history of mental disorders, violence or suicide

Postsecondary students may be at risk for any of the above reasons. Additionally, depression caused by social isolation, academic pressures or negative feelings can be a contributing factor.
There are treatments associated with the risk factors as well as talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy which can help people learn effective ways of dealing with stressful experiences. Some medications may help.

Myths about suicide:

Suicide notes are always left at the time of suicide.

  • Fact: Notes are rarely left

People who talk about suicide rarely attempt suicide.

  • Fact: Talk about suicide is a major warning sign. Suicide talk can escalate into thoughts which can escalate to attempts at suicide.

Once someone has attempted suicide, they will not attempt again.

  • Fact: People who have attempted in the past are most at-risk for future attempts.

The suicide rate is highest around Christmas.

  • Fact: The rate is rather consistent throughout the year with a slight rise in January peaking in early spring.

Some warning signs:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary.

If you hear someone talking about suicide, it is important to have them talk to a counsellor or advisor or someone they trust as soon as possible. Your college has a protocol that may guide you in who to contact in this event.

For more information:


Helping Students

With 1 in 4 college/university students having a mental health issue, this is a topic that affects almost all of us directly or indirectly although most of us do not talk about it due to the stigma surrounding mental health. But make no mistake; this is not a topic that can be ignored!

An increasing number of students are arriving on college campuses with mental health issues. It is not uncommon for students to experience varying degrees of stress, anxiety and depression during their time in college which impacts both academic and non-academic life areas.

75 percent of lifetime cases of diagnosable mental disorders begin by the age 24.

We recognize that not all college staff has training as ‘professional counsellors’. However they are ideally positioned to respond and engage students to assist them in accessing mental health resources on campus. Behaviours that may indicate a student is struggling with mental health issues include excessive procrastination, poor class attendance, disruptive behavior in the classroom and/or marked changes in appearance or mood. Of course there are other early identification signs as well which are addressed in later sections of this portal.

College staff/faculty may observe behaviours that could indicate underlying mental health issues or a student may self-report their own concerns. It is very important to listen to the student’s self-disclosure about their concerns with academic and other life area challenges. Increasing rates of suicide in post-secondary settings is a prevalent concern. Undoubtedly, there is a need for College staff/faculty to be prepared to deal with behaviours and or statements that indicate a student may be planning to harm themselves and work to access crisis supports as needed.

College communities and classrooms can create a culture of wellbeing and a sense of belonging. This provides a forum to promote positive mental health for ALL students rather than focusing solely on those identified as having ‘mental health problems’. College staff/faculty have an opportunity to feel empowered by knowing they have the ability to aid in addressing mental health issues and could have a significant effect on a student’s future.

Mental Health Awareness Quiz (10 Questions)

1 person in 100 develops schizophrenia.



  • True
  • 1% percent of the general population develops schizophrenia.

A person who has 1 or 2 parents with mental illness is more likely to develop mental illness.



  • True
  • Mental illness can be hereditary. For example, the rate of schizophrenia in the general population is one percent. This rate rises to the 8% if one parent has the disorder and to 37–47 percent if both parents have it. On in 10 people in the general population has experienced depression, compared to one in four for people whose parents have experienced depression.

Mental illness is contagious.



  • False
  • Mental illness is not contagious. Heredity can, and often does, play a factor in the development of the disease.

Mental illness tends to begin during adolescence.



  • True
  • The first episode of a mental illness often occurs between the ages of 15–30 years. Early intervention is currently thought to be one of the most important factors related to recovery from mental illness. Embarrassment, fear, peer pressure and stigma often prevent young people from seeking help.

Poor parenting causes mental illness.



  • False
  • Childhood abuse or neglect does not cause mental illness. However, stressful or abusive environments may seriously impair a person's ability to cope with and later manage the illness.

Drug use can cause mental illness.



  • True & False
  • Alcohol and other drugs sometimes play a role in the development of some symptoms and disorders, but do not usually cause the illness. However, long-term drug and alcohol use can lead to the development of drug-induced psychosis, which has many of the same symptoms of organic mental illness. Alcohol and drugs are often used as a means to cope with illness, although using alcohol and drugs can make the symptoms of mental illness worse.

Mental illness can be cured with willpower.



  • False
  • Mental illness is associated with chemical imbalances in the brain and require a comprehensive treatment plan.

People with mental illness never get better.



  • False
  • With the right kind of help, many people with mental illness do recover and go on to lead healthy, productive and satisfying lives. While the illness may not go away, the symptoms associated with it can be controlled. This usually allows the person to regain normal functioning. Medication, counselling and psychosocial rehabilitation are treatment options that can help people recover from the mental illness.

People with mental illness tend to be violent.



  • False
  • People who experience an acute mental illness behave differently from people who do not. People with a mental illness are not more violent than the rest of the population.

People who are poor are more likely to have mental illness than people who are not.



  • False
  • Income is not a factor in overall rates of mental health problems. However, people with lower incomes experience slightly higher rates of depression. People who live with major mental illnesses often end up in lower social classes because the illness may interfere with their ability to sustain employment.

Reducing Stigma

Stigma is the number one reason students may not seek help. Stereotypes, negative perceptions, and a general lack of understanding is the result of stigma associated with a number of health conditions, especially with mental health.

With one in three college and university student’s having a mental illness it is a priority to make strides in removing stigma surrounding mental illness. Stigma is a human rights issue that has serious implications for health care and mental health. As a result, individuals coping with a mental illness try to mask their condition instead of seeking help.

Stigma not only makes it hard for the individual coping with a mental illness but also makes it hard for loved ones to accept and admit there’s a problem.

Actions to conquer Stigma

  • Educate yourself and your Community
  • Raise Awareness
  • Become a Leader
  • Get Invloved

Facts About Stigma:

  • One of the main reasons individuals don’t seek help is they are too afraid to ask or are afraid of what others will think.
  • The cost of supporting someone with serious mental illness to live in the community: $34,418 per year.
  • Less than a third of people who have symptoms of mental disorders or substance dependencies sought professional assistance- that’s over eighteen million Canadians who are not going to anyone for help with their mental health concerns.


  • Mind Matters: Taking Care of Your Mental Health, 10-22-2013
  • Breaking Barriers on Stigma, Sheridan College
  • Mental Illness in the Workplace: Removing Stigma
  • Young Minds: Stigma Keeps youth suffering from mental health issues in the dark
  • Might Sight: Intro to Stigma

On Campus

On Campus Challenge: A Gallery of Student Expression

The On Campus Challenge included a Contest of student art/expression as a platform to promote mental health and awareness. Students from Cambrian, Canadore, Confederation, and Northern Colleges submitted pieces of art and design that shows how they've experienced mental illness.

The contest had a variety of categories including posters, rants, musical, digital, & other creative artistic submissions. Qualifying submissions would clearly promote the overarching theme of "Promoting mental health and reducing stigma on our campus". We invite you to view the powerful and highly creative submissions by our Northern college students:

Student Testimonials

Faculty Testimonials


Staff & Faculty Training

This section contains a collection of relevant information, links and resources surrounding mental health awareness and mental wellness.

The Bridging the Distance Project focus is to improve mental wellness in our college communities by promoting mental health awareness among students, staff & faculty. We want to establish college communities that Care; that promote a culture of support, hope and recovery. Join us on the Red Couch in your campus! The Red Sofa Campaign is being used to facilitate discussion about the importance of taking time to rest, relax, reflect and talk about mental well-being, including when and where to seek help. Learn how you can help us as Northerners; Bridge the Distance for mental health. Begin today by participating in the Starting the Conversation 3 part video series produced by Algonquin College and Canadian Mental Health Association.

We have provides some suggested resources that you may wish to tailor to your college if you don’t already have such a program. Here you can download the Peer Mentoring Manuals (Facilitators or Students), that you may use in any way to support your program.

Early Detection

The importance of educating staff/faculty to be effective in terms of identifying and referring students with mental illness, mental health concerns, and students who may be considering suicide is crucial.

College staff/faculty hold positions that put them in direct contact with students who may be in distress. In this role, college staff/faculty may act as "gatekeepers" and play a broader role in preventing suicide within our college community. The purpose of an early detection model is to assist those first responder/gatekeeper roles to intervene earlier in the process to prevent the progression of problematic symptoms and help the student get back on track.

Two common Early Detection models are 3r's & Q.P.R.

Recognize/ Question:

  • Becoming aware of early warning signs of mental illness can lead to help reduce the severity of an illness. It may even prevent a major mental illness altogether.
  • Asking for clarification about concern for observed behaviours, marked changes, attendance or academic concerns in a confidential and respectful way.
  • Using statements like "I’ve noticed…would you like to tell me more? Is there something I can do to support you?"

Respond/ Persuade:

  • Be supportive and understanding; never underestimate the person’s abilities.
  • Focus on persuading the student to accept help or visit mental health services.
  • Offer assurance by indicating that it is not uncommon for students to feel this way, and that there are resources to help that are available both on campus and off campus.


  • Offer to accompany a student to resources that are available on campus and/or follow up with the student to see if the student utilized the resource. You may ask "What can I do to make you feel more comfortable about seeking help? Or "What is preventing you from seeking help?"

Due to the shear prevalence of college students on campus reporting mental health issues, it is crucial that college staff/faculty prepare themselves to refer students to the appropriate campus resources. College staff/faculty should NOT feel responsible to counsel students with mental health issues or to recommend treatment. Rather, college staff/faculty needs only observe students’ behaviour and listen to self-disclosures, lend a supportive ear, and refer students to the appropriate services available within the college/campus community. The fact is, your actions could have a significant effect on a students’ future and could even save a students’ life.

An estimated 1.2 Million Canadian children and youth are affected by mental illness-however less than 20 percent will actually receive the appropriate treatment.

Warning Signs:

First signs of mental health problems differ with each individual and are not always displayed in the same way.

Common Early Warning Signs of a mental health problem are:

  • poor performances at school, or work
  • sudden mood changes
  • self-harming behavior
  • losing interest in activities and takes once previously enjoyed
  • changes in eating habits
  • sleep problems
  • feeling tired, lack of energy
  • increased anxiety, panic attacks
  • isolating yourself, socializing less, spending too much time in bed
  • excessive use of drugs or alcohol

What is Mental Health?


Mental health can be defined as: "The capacities of each and all of us to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well‐being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections, and personal dignity" (Public Health Agency of Canada, n.d.).

Languishing vs Flourishing

This definition of mental health is aligned with Corey Keyes (2002) description of ‘flourishing’

Corey Keyes Optimal Mental Health Chart

Mental Health Problems vs Mental Illness

  • Mental health problems is the term used to refer to ‘less than optimal mental health’, once again based on Corey Keyes model. For the purpose of this paper students described as experiencing mental health problems, then, are those students who are experiencing less than optimal mental health or as Keyes would say "languishing".
  • Mental illness or disorder can be defined as: "a mental or bodily condition marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, and emotions to seriously impair the normal psychological functioning of the individual" (Medline Plus Medical Dictionary, n.d.).


ACKNOWLEDGE what the student is saying, recognize the importance of the conversation they are having with you.

LISTEN to the individual, allowing students to speak freely will make them feel confident when seeking future help and services. Reflecting back with what you heard during the conversation will reassure the student you care.

ENGAGE without making judgments or assumptions. Be specific about what behaviours the student is exhibiting that are concerning to you. For example, a staff member may say, "I’ve noticed that you have not been in class lately, and I’m concerned."

REFER the student to Student Success Services Department located at each campus:

  • College Drive Campus, Room C262, Tel.: 705.474.7600 ext. 5205
  • Resource Centre, Room C261,Tel.: 705.474.7600 ext. 5544
  • Commerce Court Campus, Room E101a, Tel.: 705.474.7600 ext. 5655
  • Aviation Campus, Room Y237, Tel.: 705.474.7600 ext. 5956
  • Parry Sound Campus, Room 120, Tel: 705.746.9222 ext. 7351

TALK with staff/faculty about the situation, and resources that are available through Student Success Services. Check in with colleagues or supervisors for support, guidance, and assistance.


  • How to cope with the early signs of mental health problems
  • Mind Matters
  • Mood disorders Association of Ontario
  • State of Mind, University Manager, 2012
  • Mental Health Commission: The Mental Health Strategy: Changing Directions Changing Live

Privacy & Student Rights

Understanding privacy, confidentiality, and student rights:

It is the student's right to disclose whether or not they have a mental illness. The decision to disclose can be terrifying for a student because of the many risks involved.

Risks to disclosure:

  • Fear
  • Stigma: People may not understand mental illness; therefore they may stereotype or discriminate
  • Breach of confidentiality
  • Embarrassment

Why students may choose to disclose:

  • Trust that confidentiality of disclosure will be respected
  • Academic accommodations
  • To avoid misinterpretation from peers and faculty
  • Educate others: Reduce stigma
  • Feel confident/comfortable disclosing

Faculty and Staff Members have a responsibility to be aware of the legislation that governs the collection, disclosure, and exchange of personal information that they may come in contact with.

Due to the nature of the Services offered to enhance Student Success, these services are considered as "health care custodians" under PHIPA legislation, and as such may not disclose or exchange any personal information regarding a student without his or her expressed consent (informed and written).

Please keep in mind, services offered to enhance Student Success are voluntary. As such, students have the right to decline these services even though they may benefit from accessing and obtaining such services. Furthermore Faculty and Staff members, cannot force a student to access support services.

Under FIPPA, when using personal information it is imperative to understand that the personal information cannot be used unless the person to whom the information relates has provided explicit consent as to its use, and that the information is used for it's stated purpose.

As always, there are exceptions to rules. Under FIPPA, disclosure of personal information is permitted under very strict circumstances. In the post-secondary setting, it is plausible that personal information may be disclosed under compelling circumstances, such that the health or safety of an individual is affected.

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)

  • Facilitates consistent and accountable access to information in public institutions
  • Protects personal information from unauthorized collection, use, or disclosure by public institutions

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) Applied in 2000

  • Promotes and supports electronic commerce by protecting personal information that is collected, used, or disclosed

Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA)

  • Comprises "Section A" of the Health Information Protection Act, 2004.
  • Gives clients/patients the right to see their health records and make corrections if necessary

As a College that cares...

  • Encourage students to access support services
  • If the student declines and the situation is "non-urgent" you may continue to check in with the student, observe their overall presentation, and gauge their academic participation
  • Should the situation be deemed urgent or become urgent, you may contact Student Success Services to discuss the situation, or you may call Security Services directly.
  • Do not speak to anyone about the individual’s personal information without their consent, as this will be in violation of FIPPA and PHIPA
  • Do not force a person to access resources or support
  • Always enage student in a respectful, caring and confidential manner

In summary, it is everyone's collective responsibility within the college setting to ensure student rights are maintained and that his/her personal information is kept confidential. This includes being aware of the legislation that governs the collection, disclosure, and exchange of personal information that one may come in contact with.


Helpful Resources

Resources for Staff

What Employees Need to Know about Mental Illness/Health in the Workplace

The Issue - Did You Know?

  • On any given week, more than 500,000 Canadians will not go to work because of mental illness.
  • More than 30% of disability claims and 70% of disability costs are attributed to mental illness.
  • Approximately $51 billion each year are lost to the Canadian economy because of mental illness. -Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Explore Mental Health Works!

This website is a program of the Canadian Mental Health Association that addresses many of the issues related to mental illness and mental health in Canadian workplaces.

Topics include a list of employer solutions as well as employee supports. Employee supports deals with recognizing the problem, how to talk to your employer, your rights and responsibilities, accommodations, talking to co-workers, prevention and managing personal issues.

Explore the Mental Health Commission of Canada

Watch Mary Walsh introduce the Standard for Psychological Health and Safety from the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Explore Workplace Strategies for Mental Health

This website is a public resource for employers and employees in Canada, developed by Great-West Life. It has information on a wide variety of topics related to maintaining a mentally healthy workplace. View the videos of employees who tell their stories of reclaiming well-being at Working Through It, read articles about coping at work as well as many other topics that are of interest to most employees at some point. Articles include:

  • How can I deal with a supervisor who does not understand me?
  • How can I support a co-worker who appears to be experiencing a mental health issue?
  • Where can I find practical information about mental health and mental illnesses?
  • What would help me maintain my own mental health at work?

There is also a free subscription to the Mental Health Works Newsletter available.

On & Off Campus Resources:

Cambrian College Logo

Cambrian Resources

On Campus

  • Counselling Services are provided through the Glenn Crombie Centre for Student Support located at the main Barrydowne Campus. The counselling department provides short-term, episodic advisory and counselling support services to students through a confidential format using standardized tools, best practice approaches and defined pathways to collaborate with internal advisory support services and community partners. The team provides one-to-one academic, career and personal support services.
Cambrian College Logo

Canadore Resources

On Campus

  • Student Success Services C262 Student Success Services firmly believes that ensuring student success is a shared responsibility for all Canadore staff& faculty and as such, your continued participation and collaboration will be needed if we are to work to meet the student's needs. We’re here to help!  From the simple questions to the more complex issues, we can assist. We help students balance all aspects of their life by promoting health & well-being.
  • Campus Health Centre C 211 The Campus Health Centre provides quality services and health care delivery by a licensed physician and nurses. The Campus Health Centre provides students and employees with convenient access to a wide array of medical services. Health services are also provided to international students with Destination Travel Inc., underwritten by the Caldron Group coverage.
  • First Peoples' Centre We have two offices (and a tipi) to serve you, located at the Education Centre Campus in C254 and at Commerce Court Campus, W100. These areas have been designed to ensure a comfortable learning environment for you. Your academic and general counselling needs can be met by booking a session with one of our Aboriginal counsellors. Cultural resources, peer tutoring and mentorship can be accessed to enhance your educational experience.
  • Security Security can be reached for The Education Centre, The Aviation & Commerce Court Campus and all residences at: 705.474.7600 ext. 5555 or by calling the On-Duty Officer at 705.498.7244

Off Campus

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Confederation Resources

On Campus

  • On-Campus Services Confederation College provides many services to students, staff and the community.

Off Campus

  • Off-Campus Services Here you'll find a list of Community Resources available in the Thunder Bay area.
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Northern Resources

On Campus

  • Advising Services at Northern College offer a wide range of student assisting services, including: Advising Services, Aboriginal Advising, Accessibility Services, First Year Experience Services, First Generation Advising, International Student Advising and Second Career Advising.
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Sault Ste. Marie Resources

On Campus

  • On-Campus Services Sault College offers full services to students including personal and crisis counselling during office hours.
  • Enji Maawnjiding Centre In addition we have a Native Student Counsellor at the Enji Maawnjiding Centre.

Off Campus

  • "Good2Talk" Ontario's Postsecondary Student Helpline 1-866-925-5454
  • Crisis Services 705-759-3398 or 1-800-721-0077
  • Mobile Crisis Response 705-759-3803
  • Police - 911

Resources for Faculty

This section contains several resources to assist you in providing your students with information about mental health in postsecondary settings.

Some of the materials are shared tutorials or slide presentations designed for the student audience. Some are more suitable for students in human services programs.

Concurrent Disorders

Download below, An Introductory Learning Module for Post Secondary Institutions – CAMH (concurrent disorders training strategy project). This is a readymade slide show in pdf format ready to use. Ideal for students in human services programs, especially part III and IV.

Overall Learning Outcomes:

  • Be able to define a concurrent disorder (CD)
  • Understand the importance of addressing CD
  • Examine your own attitudes and values
  • Have a basic knowledge of treatment considerations
  • Appreciate the importance of the therapeutic relationship

Part 1:

Define mental health disorders; define substance use disorders

Part 2:

Describe concurrent disorders; understand the prevalence, effects of and stigma relating to concurrent disorders.

Part 3:

explain the importance of screening; -know what questions to ask to identify possible substance use or mental health problems

Part 4:

Describe the purposes of assessment; Identify who can perform detailed assessment.

List factors that influence success; describe the primary treatment outcome goals.

Mental Health and Addiction 101

The above website provides a nicely organized site containing tutorials on:

  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Concurrent Disorders
  • Depression
  • Diversity and Health Equity
  • Harm Reduction
  • Introduction to Addiction
  • Introduction to Mental Health
  • Older Adults
  • Personality Disorders
  • Problem Gambling
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Stages of Change
  • Stigma

Quick Facts: Mental Illness and Addiction in Canada

This 41 page pamphlet outlines definitions, incidence, and percentage of Canadians impacted by various mental illnesses.

Mentally Healthy Communities: A Collection of Papers

Health Initiative 2008. This book would contribute to student learning as the articles are brief and well written by experts. Topics include what is a mentally healthy community, changing perceptions in Canada, mentally healthy workplaces, children and seniors. Ideal companion to any student in the human services field.

Understanding Mental Health Disorders

This content is presented as a slide show in Microsoft ppt to be used in a classroom to inform students about mental health problems. Notes, websites, resources are included. The ppt is customizable by faculty.

How to Help your Friends

This power point in game format can be used in classroom settings with a variety of students as an awareness and anti-stigma tool. It includes a sheet on suggestions to use the slide show as well as the slide show.

Resources for Administrators

Framework for Setting Up Campus Support

This guide outlines a framework for addressing student mental health in post-secondary institutions. It is the result of a commitment undertaken by the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to strengthen student mental health.

Toolkit for Setting up Distance Counselling/Advising

This toolkit provides you with valuable information about how to set up a successful distance counselling/advising program.