Student walking through campus with headphones on.

Mental health and wellness

The well-being and safety of our students, faculty and staff are top of mind at the University of Ottawa. We’re committed to offering a supportive teaching, learning and working environment where our community can thrive academically, professionally and personally. We’re also taking action to make our workplace more safe, psychologically speaking. By taking care of ourselves and of each other, we can reach our goals, both individually and collectively.

Understanding our needs

To better understand what our uOttawa community needs, where service gaps exist and how to build on our current wellness initiatives, we have held several important listening and learning exercises, and produced two reports.

Students working in library.

Roadmap to Wellness at uOttawa

The Roadmap to Wellness at uOttawa report was developed by the Campus Action Group in January 2020. It contains concrete recommendations on creating a campus culture focused on the health and wellness of our students, faculty and staff.

Students walking around campus.

President’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Wellness

The final report of the President’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Wellness was developed by the committee in December 2020. It outlines actionable recommendations concerning mobilization, training and strengthening supports and services.

cat sleeping next to computer

Wellness check surveys and “listening tour”

The physical and psychological wellbeing of our staff is vital. That’s why we conducted two wellness check surveys in 2020–2021. In June 2021, we conducted a “listening tour” to dig deeper into the results of the second wellness check survey.

uOttawa President, Jacques Fremont, in conversation with students in front of Tabaret Hall.
The big picture

“Promoting wellness is as vital to our educational mission as are books and classrooms.”

Jacques Frémont

— President and Vice-Chancellor

Thriving

Through a comprehensive approach to mental health, we’re working to ensure our community thrives and succeeds. Over the past several years, we’ve taken specific measures to bring additional mental health resources to the University. Here are some examples.

  • We’re promoting mental health and wellness throughout our community and beyond. We’ve signed the Okanagan Charter on health promotion at postsecondary institutions.
  • We’ve appointed a new university adviser on mental health and wellness, Professor Elizabeth Kristjansson, who is helping to implement several positive initiatives for students, faculty and staff. She has set up a governance structure for mental health with a steering committee, advisory committee and 10 working groups.
  • We’ve appointed evening counsellors and implemented a new case management model to better serve students with complex needs.
  • We’ve hired two racialized counsellors to better serve the needs of racialized members of our community, who face intercultural, interracial and intersectional challenges. 
  • We’ve received Canada Awards for Excellence® (CAE) Silver certification in Mental Health at Work! for employees from Excellence Canada and will continue to improve our practices to become a leader for our community.