New resources, expanded services for students seeking health supports

A woman looking at a laptop that says "Mental Health"

York University students will have access to new resources and expanded services, including wellness programs and a suicide awareness certification program.

An undertaking by the Health Education & Promotion staff and the Student Community & Leadership Development (SCLD) peer team, the programming includes approximately 35 new trainings for peers by other peers that encompass student mental health, sleep, nutrition, sexual health, physical well-being and also deal with the realities of COVID-19, such as use of substances and alcohol and feelings of isolation. Also being highlighted is a series dedicated to self-care.

A peer leader during a mental health awareness campaign on campus, pre-pandemic
A peer leader during a mental health awareness campaign on campus, pre-pandemic

The goal of these programs and services is to create a harm-reduction framework for students to genuinely connect with other students around these topics, which are important for their academic success.

Some of the changes and additions to resources and programs include:

Peer Lead – Health Education and Workshops

Since September 2020, Health Education & Promotion (Health Ed) has moved all its programs and outreach efforts online. During the fall semester, it delivered 40 workshops and will plan to continue these efforts. The workshops include topics such as a self-care series, healthier coping strategies, mindfulness and resilience building, and mental health programs. There are also physical health workshops that focus on sleep during COVID-19, becoming physically active at home, as well as nutritional programs.

“As an upper-year student, I knew it was important for our programs to empower fellow students on what they are dealing with now,” says Rumia Owaisi, a fourth-year global health student and the peer health educator team lead. “As peers, we are not perfect, and we too struggle with remote learning and our health during this pandemic. We want to let students know both relevant health information as well as having meaningful conversations and connections through our workshops.”

All upcoming workshops can be accessed here.

Now hiring: peer health educators

The University is currently accepting applications for Peer Health Educator positions for both the Glendon and Keele campuses. It is an opportunity for undergraduate students to build leadership skills, community connections and York pride. Students will have an opportunity to enhance their academic and career goals through paid work-study positions that focus on health empowerment. Applications for Summer and Fall/Winter term 2021 are being accepted now. Positions are posted here. Applications are due March 22 at 9 a.m. EST.

Suicide Prevention Certification programs for faculty and staff

Over the past few years, Health Ed has offered SafeTalk and ASIST, which are suicide awareness and suicide prevention programs. These were conducted as in-person certificate programs and were designed to help faculty, staff and students recognize thoughts of suicide and provide support and resources needed. This year, Health Education & Promotion will offer a self-paced program through Living Works Institute called Living Works Start. It is a one-hour online tool that teaches trainees to recognize when someone is thinking about suicide and connect them to help and support. Click here to sign up.

Keep.meSafe 24/7 mental health support

Keep.meSafe is a new mental wellness student support program that lets students chat with a counsellor at no cost any time of day or night from anywhere in the world. Students can access real-time help and self-help resources, articles, videos and other assessment tools.

Additionally, Keep.meSafe also provides consultations support for staff and faculty on student challenges they may face. For example, this could be giving feedback for an undesirable grade; addressing a student conduct issue; discussing culturally sensitive health topics; or, supporting a student in crisis or supporting withdrawn/isolated students.

The easiest way for staff and students to access this service is through the My SSP app (from the app Clstore).

For more information, contact Shaila Khan, health educator & training specialist, at