University Advisor on Mental Health and Wellness

Appointment of the University Advisor on Mental Health and Wellness

Elizabeth Kristjansson

Elizabeth Kristjansson was appointed University Advisor, Mental Health and Wellness for the University of Ottawa effective July 1, 2020, a position created in the wake of the 12 recommendations presented in May 2020 by the President’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Wellness.

At the end of her three-year mandate, Dr. Kristjansson will have played a key role in addressing the University of Ottawa's mental health and wellness priorities and helping to ensure that the institution has the resources to provide quality services without delay. Her expertise in neighborhoods and community health will be an asset in this new role.

Find immediate support

If you are in distress or in a crisis, there are several resources available (by phone or online)
on the Mental Health and Wellness website.

For emergencies on campus: 613-562-5411.
For emergencies off-campus: 9-1-1.

Messages and updates

Mandate

The University Advisor on Mental Health and Wellness ensures that the University implements the recommendations of the President’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Wellness in an effective and timely manner, while addressing remaining gaps and working towards improving the well-being of our students, professors and staff, and fostering a culture of caring and support.

Roadmap

These committees will build upon the expertise and work of defunct committees that addressed similar concerns (President's Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Wellness, the Action Group on Mental Health (CAG) and Wellness and the Standing Committee on Student Wellbeing). This work includes the Roadmap to Wellness produced by the CAG, as well as the findings and recommendations of the President’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Wellness.

Mental Health and Wellness Steering Committee (MHSC)

The mandate of the Mental Health and Wellness Steering Committee is to support the University Advisor on Mental Health and Wellness in advancing mental health and wellbeing at the University of Ottawa, providing strategic direction, oversight and leadership.

Terms of reference

Scope

Ensuring effective coordination with existing and planned resources and initiatives, the MHSC will plan and ensure the execution of mental health and wellness strategies, initiatives and activities at uOttawa.  Specifically, the MHSC will:

  • Provide support and advice on the implementation of the President’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Wellness recommendations.
  • Through the MHAC, provide a forum to discuss gaps and emerging issues related to mental health and wellness. This will ensure it is responsive to the community and its diverse and evolving needs and perspectives. On this basis, the MHSC will make adjustments or recommend adjustments to overall strategies.
  • Provide support and advice on the development and implementation of the uOttawa mental health strategy going forward, in alignment with Transformation 2030 and using the 2020 Roadmap to Wellness as a starting point.
  • Monitor and evaluate progress in advancing mental health and wellbeing at the University of Ottawa.
  • Act as a community in advancing mental health and wellbeing at the University of Ottawa.

Committee Membership

The MHSC shall comprise members who have authority to carry out actions within their mandate. The University Advisor on Mental Health and Wellness serves as the Chair.

MHSC members are appointed for a three-year term, renewable.

Members

  • One HR Representative;
  • The Director, Wellness and Recreation;
  • Two Vice-Deans, Undergraduate Studies;
  • One Vice-Dean Graduate Studies;
  • One Faculty Affairs Representative;
  • One Corporate Communications Representative;
  • One International Office Representative; and
  • One Teaching and Learning Support Service Representative.

Resource people

  • One Senior Mental Health Advisor;
  • One Manager, Planning, Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs;
  • And, as needed, experts on specific issues.

This Committee will build upon the expertise and work of defunct committees that addressed similar concerns.  This work includes the Roadmap to Wellness produced by the  Action Group (CAG), as well as the findings and recommendations of the President’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Wellness.

Meeting Attendance and Schedule

The MHSC will meet as often as required to fulfill its mandate, as convened by the Chair, and no less than every 4 weeks. Meetings will be held in both official languages. Secretariat services are provided by the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs.

Working groups can be struck by the Committee on an as needed, ad hoc basis to address specific needs, recommendations, or projects and can include key stakeholders. MHSC members will participate in working groups that suit their interest and skills.

Accountability and Reporting

The chair reports on the MHSC’s work to the Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs. Items brought forward for decisions by the Provost will involve those recommendations and reports on initiatives with broad or significant organizational impact.  They will be first discussed with the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs, and brought forward to the Administration Committee (CA) if required.

Alignment

The Committee complements other university committees that work towards improving student and community life and experiences. Examples include such committees as the Psychological Health and Safety Committee.

The Committee does not address disciplinary concerns for students or employees, the academic aspects of student retention or academic matters.

Members

Chair

Elizabeth Kristjansson

University Advisor on Mental Health and Wellness
Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs

Members

Eileen Barak

Manager, Strategic Communications
External Relations

Rachelle Clark

Director, Wellness and Recreation Sector
Student Affairs

Hubert Lalande

Manager, Digital Development
Teaching and Learning Support Service

Jenepher Lennox-Terrion

Vice-Dean, Students
Associate Professor
Faculty of Arts, Department of Communication

Anne McIlroy

Executive Director, Strategic Engagement
External Relations

Mireille McLaughlin

Associate Vice-Dean, Undergraduate Studies
Associate Professor
Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies

Natalie Morris

International Student Support Services Manager
International Office

Marie Parish

Director, Health and Wellness
Human Resources

Alain Stintzi

Vice-Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Full Professor
Faculty of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology

Michelle Sultan

Senior Advisor, Labour Relations
Financial Resources, ERP Project

Resource Persons

Benoit Lefebvre

Wellness and Return to Work Advisor
Human Resources

April MacInnes

Senior Mental Health Advisor
Student Affairs

Annie Garant

Manager, Planning
Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs

Mental Health and Wellness Advisory Committee (MHAC)

The MHAC will serve as a forum to bring to the attention of the University Advisor on Mental Health and Wellness emerging issues related to mental health and wellness that need to be considered; consult and discuss on important issues related to the overall objectives of the mental health and wellness strategy; and serve as a mechanism for reporting to the uOttawa community on progress on mental and wellness initiatives.

Terms of reference

Committee Membership

The MHAC membership comprises participants who represent of the University community diversity and who possess perspective or expertise that could be drawn upon. Committee members will have lived experience and/or have a strong interest in mental health and wellness. Additional ad hoc members will be identified by the University Advisor and added as needed. Members are appointed for a one-year term, renewable.

Representatives of the Mental Health and Wellness Steering Committee will also attend these meetings on an as needed basis.

The University Advisor on Mental Health and Wellness serves as the Chair.

Members

  • Representatives of the uOttawa community
  • At least four undergraduate students (including one from the University of Ottawa Students’ Union)
  • At least three graduate students (including one from the Graduate Student’s Association)
  • At least two non-academic staff members
  • At least two full time professors
  • At least one part-time professor
  • Representatives of the broader community
  • One Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health (CICMH) representative
  • One Ottawa Public Health (OPH) representative
  • One Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) representative
  • One Morneau-Shepell representative
  • Resource people will be:
    • The Wellness and Return to Work Advisor, Human Resources
    • One Manager, Planning, Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs
    • As needed, experts on specific issues

Meeting Attendance and Schedule

The MHAC will meet twice each semester.

MHAC members will participate in working groups that suit their interest and skills.

Secretariat services are provided by the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs.

Members

Chair

Elizabeth Kristjansson

University Advisor on Mental Health and Wellness
Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs

Members

Yann Barheile

Supervisor, Collection Sector
Financial Resources

Gurrattan Chandhoke

Graduate Student
Faculty of Medicine

Harneet Cheema

Graduate Student
Faculty of Health Sciences

Nickolas Eburne

Undergraduate Student
Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section

Olga Fellus

Part-time Professor
Faculty of Education

Ariana Foote

Undergraduate Student
Faculty of Social Sciences

Angel Foster

Full Professor
Faculty of Health Sciences

Harriet Greenstone

Part-time Professor
Faculty of Education

Abhinya Gulasingam

Undergraduate Student
Faculty of Science

Tim Gulliver

Undergraduate Student
Faculty of Social Sciences

Saada Hussen

Graduate Student
Faculty of Medicine

Dana Hyde

Executive in Residence
Telfer School of Management

Lavagnon Ika

Full Professor
Telfer School of Management

Annie-Rose Johnson

Undergraduate Student
Faculty of Social Sciences

Samiyah Khodabocus

Undergraduate Student
Faculty of Social Sciences

Lorie Laroche

Educational Development and Digital Learning Specialist
Teaching and Learning Support Services

Allison Leeming

Graduate Student
Faculty of Social Sciences

Nelson Mahamidi

Undergraduate Student
Faculty of Social Sciences

Isabelle Marcoux

Associate Professor
Faculty of Health Sciences

Salman Mohammadzamani

Graduate Student
Telfer School of Management

Elmira Mirbahaeddin

Graduate Student
Telfer School of Management

Jennie Nelson

Undergraduate Student
Faculty of Health Sciences

Laura O'Connor

Undergraduate Student
Faculty of Arts

Ana Radar

Undergraduate Student
Faculty of Science

Lynn Rivard

Chief Administrative Officer
Faculty of Arts

Natalie Magdalena Sadowski

Graduate Student
Faculty of Education

Terry Skolnik

Assistant Professor
Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section

Rachel Thelen

Graduate Student
Telfer School of Management

Stephanie Walker

Director of student support programs
Morneau Shepell

Resource Persons

Benoit Lefebvre

Wellness and Return to Work Advisor
Human Resources

April MacInnes

Senior Mental Health Advisor
Student Affairs

Annie Garant

Manager, Planning
Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs

Working Groups

Implementation of specific components of the recommendations from the President’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Wellness Report will be done through mandate-specific working groups that will focus on action and solutions.

Members of the Steering Committee will oversee mandate specific working groups, with membership of each working group including representation from across the University community, and experts.

The Special Advisor recognizes that the responsibilities and the initiatives of the working groups may overlap with each other, which is why effective coordination and communication for planning, implementation, and reporting will be paramount. The working groups will, through their leads, report regularly to the Steering Committee who will monitor progress and assess and mitigate interdependencies between the working groups.

List of working groups
  • Workplace Standards Working Group - group already set up and led by Human Resources
    Scope: Implementing the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
  • Student Standards Working Group
    Scope: Implementing the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
  • Okanagan Charter Working Group
    Scope: Developing institutional commitments to demonstrate the University of Ottawa’s commitment to activate the Charter’s Calls to Actions and Principles.
  • Communication in Time of Crisis and Suicide Prevention Working Group
    Scope: Reviewing protocols to communicate in time of crisis and suicide prevention tools at uOttawa.
  • Building Bridges Between Faculties and Student Support Services Working Group
    Scope: Strengthening student support and workflow between faculties and student services by focusing on referral mechanisms, two-way communication, sharing of responsibilities, and sustainable collaborations.
  • Mental Health Curricula (including Wellness 101) Working Group
    Scope: Developing both credit and non-credit mental health curricula and courses for students.
  • Mental Health and Wellness Awareness and Promotion Working Group
    Scope: Identifying leading practices to support and promote mental health and wellness in curriculum design and learning environment.
  • Brightspace Working Group
    Scope: Developing accessible and informative mental health and wellness awareness resources in Brightspace (students and professors).
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