York University approves mental health strategy for students, faculty and staff


TORONTO, May 14, 2013 – York University approved a comprehensive mental health strategy that will focus on fostering student academic success and a better workplace to create a mentally healthy campus.

York seeks to move from  the more traditional response of providing care after a mental health crisis  has arisen to a more  proactive, preventative approach of building a healthy community  by addressing pressures before they reach a crisis stage. As is currently the case with Canadians nationwide, a significant number of our York community members are at risk of  experiencing a mental health issue at some point in their lives including depression, loneliness and feelings of overwhelming anxiety or anger.  These are compounded by a lack of awareness of support services and acknowledgement of mental health issues in general. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds.

“In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a diagnosable mental health problem or illness.” says Mamdouh Shoukri, York’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “We are taking a leadership role in the creation of a healthy university that advances early detection and health promotion.”

Long term goals will be achieved through leadership commitment, assessing current systems, developing policies and procedures that respond to community needs, expanding the university’s capacity to support mental health, and reinforcing existing and developing new partnerships to collaborate on a coordinated response.

Over the next 18 months, the newly formed mental health steering committee will work on policy development, building awareness of campus resources and promoting the new software Moodle training program Mental Health EDU, an online 20-minute mental health program designed to assist faculty and staff in understanding how to help students in distress using an approach that fits their individual comfort levels.



York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York U’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York U is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York U’s 11 faculties and 28 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 288 leading universities worldwide. York U's community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 250,000 alumni.

Media Contact:

Joanne Rider, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 5593 / jrider@yorku.ca