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Oct 25, 2022
Most mental health disorders have their peak onset during young adulthood by the age of 25 years, 75% of those who will have a mental health disorder have had their first onset (). The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, an advocacy group representing 22 student associations nationwide, recently published a report that three quarters of students reported experiencing negative mental health during their studies during the 2021-2022 school year. How is the University of Guelph and Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington working together to improve mental health on campus?
It has been one year since the pilot project began between the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington and the University of Guelph where an IMPACT (Integrated Mobile Police and Crisis Team) worker is stationed on campus to provide afterhours mental health support for students.
University can be a transitional period for young adults, the majority of students who access mental health services are in their first or second year of study indicating that transition from secondary to post-secondary settings, accompanied with other stressors such as leaving home, adjusting to independent living, academic and peer stress may pose a considerable challenge for post-secondary students (Source: www).
The IMPACT initiative has transformed the way mental health related calls for service are handled by providing a collaborative, immediate and comprehensive crisis response for individuals and their support network. Wrap around care and linkages to on campus and off campus services further support this on campus initiative for individuals experiencing a crisis.
During the first year of the partnership, there were 116 visits recorded. An IMPACT U of G worker attended 13 live calls, 23% of the calls were diverted from police (did not require police presence) and 76.9% of the students were diverted from being taken to the hospital because of the support they received.
Since the pilot program began at the University of Guelph, the University of Waterloo has also started an IMPACT partnership with CMHA WW.
Kessler et al. 
Understanding the Mental Health Needs of Post-Secondary Students | Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences