A CMHA WW IMPACT worker will be stationed on campus to help
those who may need support afterhours during a mental health crisis
A pilot project is launching October 21st between The Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington and the University of Guelph that will see an IMPACT (Integrated Mobile Police and Crisis Team) worker on campus to provide afterhours mental health support for students. The IMPACT workers are specially trained mental health clinicians who have expertise in suicide prevention – safety planning, mental health assessments and de-escalation technics. Distress calls from anywhere on campus will be taken by the Campus Safety Office dispatcher, who will notify officers and the IMPACT worker to respond together.
Since 2015, CMHA WW and the Guelph Police Service have been working together to provide supportive mental health crisis care to those in need in the Guelph community through the IMPACT program. The partnership is very successful and results in hospital diversion and better health outcomes for individuals. CMHA WW IMPACT workers also collaborate with Waterloo Regional Police and Wellington OPP. This new partnership with the University of Guelph is coming at a crucial time.
“This project is a testament of the excellent work that the IMPACT team are already doing and speaks to the successes of the overall program. It also speaks to the strong relationship between CMHW WW and the University of Guelph. We are thrilled with the opportunity to partner with the University of Guelph to respond to the mental health needs of students outside of regular business hours. This year is especially exceptional as students return to campus. The added pressures that the fourth wave (and ongoing pandemic) challenges bring, demand the need for accessible mental health care across the board,” says Director of Service at CMHA WW Jeff Stanlick.
In 2020 there was a 40% increase in IMPACT responses to 911 calls with police. Overall, the need for mental health supports in the community has grown since the onset of the pandemic and the University of Guelph population is no different.
“With the return to campus for classes, there is concern and evidence that people may be struggling with their mental health during the pandemic,” said Alison Burnett, Director of Student Wellness Services at U of G. “We want to increase the resources available.”
The University of Guelph will create seamless access back and forth with Clinical Services at the University to better support student mental health especially after hours. The IMPACT worker will be on campus Thursdays, 3 p.m. to midnight, and Friday through Sunday, 2 p.m. to midnight. Student wellness staff who encounter individuals at risk during the week can proactively flag potential concerns with the IMPACT worker before the weekend. All partners within this initiative are committed to and obligated to ensure all student privacy rights are in compliance with all applicable Ontario Privacy Legislation.