Queen's University pilot program indicates tool may be effective in decreasing negative feelings such as nervousness up to 11 per cent
WINNIPEG, Aug. 14, 2019 /CNW/ - Today Workplace Strategies, funded by Canada Life, launched a free tool called From Surviving to Thriving to help improve post-secondary students' mental well-being – just in time for the fall semester. The tool was developed based on peer-reviewed academic research and Queen's University completed a student pilot program testing it in 2019.
"University and college can be stressful for new and returning students who are juggling academic deadlines, social pressures and responsibilities outside of the lecture hall. For some students, their usual support system may be many miles away at home. But planning for stressful situations can help a student go from merely surviving and just getting by to thriving and excelling in university," says Mary Ann Baynton, Program Director of Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, an initiative of Canada Life. "Resiliency is about being able to adapt to, and recover from, stress. The From Surviving to Thriving tool helps students do that by identifying their stressors and strengths, and guides them to create a coping strategy for when times get tough."
From Surviving to Thriving was first reviewed by McMaster University in 2017 and their feedback informed updates to the tool. In 2019, the Queen's University evaluation study had 133 students test and report on the tool through a post-use survey. Survey results indicate the tool is effective in decreasing negative feelings: participants reported decreases of up to 11 per cent in some cases of feelings of nervousness, as well as decreased feelings of hopelessness and depression.
"Often post-secondary students face pressure to achieve and maintain a high GPA to get into a competitive faculty, in addition to financial, family and peer-related stress. Queen's University was excited to test the tool with a sample student population because the reflection and coping skills it teaches are considered to help build resiliency," said Dr. Heather Stuart, professor of public health sciences at Queen's University. "The goal of the tool is to reduce short-term distress with the long-term goal of improving students' personal resilience. The results from our study indicate it does reduce short-term distress, and we were pleased to hear that students found it valuable."
While students may use the tool on their own, it can also be facilitated in post-secondary classroom settings. Workplace Strategies will support post-secondary institutions that wish to incorporate the tool's facilitation into student wellness or orientation events. An interactive digital version of the tool is planned for release in 2020.
Professors, health and wellness professionals, parents and students can access the free From Surviving to Thriving tool online. The Workplace Strategies website also hosts many more free evidence-based tools and resources on a variety of topics to help improve mental health, with the option to sign up for newsletters featuring mental well-being tips.
About Workplace Strategies for Mental Health
Established in 2007 as the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, Workplace Strategies for Mental Health is a leading source of practical ideas, tools and resources designed to help with the prevention, intervention and management of workplace mental health issues. Around the world, Canada is recognized as an international leader in workplace mental health. Many individuals and organizations have contributed to this distinction and it has been a privilege to have played a part in many important initiatives. For more information, visit the website at WorkplaceStrategiesforMentalHealth.com.
SOURCE Workplace Strategies for Mental Health
For further information: Erika Miller, Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, 204-509-1858, Erika.Miller@gwl.ca