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North Bay college rolling out student mental health strategy

Canadore aims to create welcoming, supportive college community
Canadore College
Canadore College in North Bay (BayToday photo)

A new strategy to safeguard the mental health of North Bay college students is taking a holistic approach to student well-being.

Canadore College announced on Oct. 30 the launch of the three-year Student Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy.

Although development of the strategy was already underway before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Canada, the school said the strategy now holds even more relevance.

“We could not have foreseen the global pandemic and the complicating challenges it has created in terms of social isolation, or the limitations we have to deliver our support programs and services, so, this strategy could not be more timely,” said Shawna Nielsen, Canadore’s director of student experience and success, in a news release.

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While still in development, the strategy’s foundation rests on six pillars: institutional structure, supportive inclusive campus climate and environment, mental health awareness and capacity to respond early, self-management competencies and coping skills, accessible mental health services, and crisis management.

In general, the strategy outlines a plan to create a welcome campus that will equip students and staff with supports and coping strategies to handle a variety of mental health issues.

As it rolls out the plan over the coming months, the school said it would hold additional stakeholder engagement sessions to prioritize the recommendations and create project timelines.

Serving a student population of about 5,600, Canadore College provides access to full- and part-time studies across campuses in North Bay and Parry Sound. 

Roughly 25 per cent of the student population is Indigenous, while 500 international students are enrolled annually.