Investing in Mental Health Support for the Redeemer University Community
6 min. read
December 7, 2022

The past two weeks have been a challenging time for the Redeemer community as we mourned the tragic death of a fellow student, co-worker, and friend. The university has focused on honouring the student’s life and supporting Redeemer students, faculty and staff, as the community grieves this tremendous loss together, including at an internal memorial service this past Saturday. 

In remaining faithful to Redeemer’s Reformed Christian mission and purpose, the university is committed to ensuring that every single member of the community, regardless of their lived experience, feels cared for and supported as they navigate their wellbeing and mental health. Our commitment is to being a campus that expresses the university’s Reformed Christian identity in caring, compassionate and loving ways so that all who choose to come to Redeemer are treated with dignity and respect as image-bearers of God himself. To care for students and the campus we are moving forward quickly with ongoing and new initiatives that will help us achieve these goals. We pray God would comfort all those who are grieving as we move forward together in this work.

Mental Health Support Action Plan

Redeemer University is committed to caring for students holistically, through health and wellness supports and continuing with efforts to create a campus where all members of the campus community are treated with dignity and respect in a caring and compassionate environment. To fulfill this, the university is fast-tracking new mental health support initiatives and investments that were already planned or underway. More students will benefit from additional resources and services they need to support their mental health.

1. Increased mental health care support and new student health clinic

Redeemer University will invest $1 million in new mental health initiatives over the next five years. An additional $200,000 is ear-marked for building a more comprehensive on-campus student health clinic. The clinic will function as a hub for student health and wellness and include both physical and mental health triage, urgent mental health care, and centralized service for Redeemer students. Additional administrative support at the clinic will also ensure students can rely on in-house appointment booking.

2. Additional crisis support 

A new crisis support professional will help triage students experiencing mental health crises, directing them to the appropriate care while also facilitating support groups and training on campus. On campus services will be supplemented by triage to community supports, including to specialized post-secondary student supports in Hamilton through the Youth Wellness Centre and other community providers to suit individual student preferences and needs. 

3. A mental health taskforce

A mental health task force will be formed in the coming weeks to review current programming and service provision and provide recommendations on how best to move forward. Best practices from other post-secondary institutions in Ontario and the health care sector will be reviewed. The task force will be led by the Dean of Students and will include members of the campus community and external expertise. More details will follow in the coming weeks.

4. Respectful Campus Initiative 

Redeemer continues to move forward with its Respectful Campus Initiative launched in 2020. Over the past two years, important steps have been taken as part of this initiative to ensure that all who choose to be part of the Redeemer community are treated with love, dignity and respect. 

Some of the work underway includes:

  • An external review of major university policies has been undertaken by a third-party human rights expert with recommendations being implemented
  • An update of the Personal Respect policy is almost complete; a review of the reporting process and development of enhanced training for personal respect advisors and officers will follow in the coming months.
  • An organizational values project launched last spring will be finalized over the coming months
  • An enhanced training and orientation program has been developed for employees
  • Transparency and clarity about institutional identity and policies has been significantly increased in hiring and admissions processes in-line with recommendations
  • A concerted relational effort at listening and learning directly from students, including students from marginalized and underrepresented groups, has been underway over the past two years. 
  • Plans for training and orientation for both students and employees concerning respectful engagement across differences are in the development stage
  • Clarity on processes for students to communicate concerns around disrespectful engagement, bullying, harassment and intimidation will be included in every course
  • A summary report on the respectful campus survey results is being finalized and will be shared with the campus.
  • Redeemer is also launching new workplaces surveys to assess the campus culture, and investing in a new faculty chaplaincy position focused on enhancing respectful and caring engagement among faculty, staff and students. 

Resources 

During this difficult time, mental health supports for students, faculty and staff have been made available as the community grieves and supports one another. 

  • Counselling sessions can be arranged through the Redeemer App or Student Health and Wellness Clinic on an ongoing basis.  
  • Faculty and Staff can find mental health support information on the Redeemer App.
  • COAST 24/7 Helpline at 905-972-8338 
  • Good 2 Talk Student Helpline at 1-866-925-5454 or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868 
  • Ontario Mental Health 24/7 Helpline at 1-866-531-2600 
  • Kids Help Phone 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-668-6868 or text 686868 

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