Adapting to COVID-19: Teaching and Practice Adaptations to Support Student Mental Health and Well-Being

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Audience: Faculty and staff

Session Description:

The B.C. post-secondary education sector has needed to pivot quickly to comply with the required public health measures in response to the pandemic. This pivot has resulted in significant adaptations in the delivery of curriculum and services at colleges, universities, and institutes, with campus workforces and student bodies distributed and participating in campus life from home.

During the past decade, the mental health and wellbeing of students, staff, and faculty has gradually increased in profile, with taskforces and committees charged with developing and executing campus mental health strategies and tactics. In fact, we will soon see the launch of a new national standard focused on campus mental health.

Given the magnitude of issues related to mental health and substance use on campus pre-COVID-19, and the widely recognized psychological impacts of the pandemic itself and the public health response, it is imperative for campuses to plan ahead and address the associated policy and practice implications of COVID-19 as we head into the Fall.

During this session, participants will have an opportunity to –

  • Identify major risks and opportunities related to campus mental health and wellbeing in light of the pandemic
  • Identify policy and practice approaches in response
  • Convene for continued learning and support through the Healthy Minds/Healthy Campuses Network

Facilitator Bio:

Jonny Morris, MA is the CEO of the B.C. Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association. He left CMHA for two years to work within the public service for the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, where he played a key role in helping build this new Ministry from the ground up, eventually leading the Policy and Legislation Branch as Senior Director. In this role, Jonathan was responsible for providing advice on a range of complex policy and legislative initiatives, while leading several transformational mental health and addictions programs.

In his past role at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Jonny provided leadership for provincial mental health and substance use operations through the Association’s provincial office and the branch network across British Columbia. His work focused on addressing systemic disparities between physical and mental health, campus mental health, the criminal justice system, systems transformation, policy and government relations.

Jonny has a long research and practice history in suicide prevention, has trained as a counsellor, and has held teaching appointments at the University of Victoria and Douglas College in Child and Youth Care.