By Rasha Rehman
Ryerson is expanding on its training to help faculty members accommodate students with mental health issues. Mental Health 101, an optional workshop, will now be able to train more staff.
The workshop, created by members of a special subcommittee on the Ryerson Mental Health Committee, began in 2015. It’s based on a three-step model developed by OCAD University for working with students in distress. The model trains staff to notice sign of distress, engage and actively listen and refer students to appropriate campus resources.
“It was really written for and by a Ryerson context and by people who are engaged with and aware of the particular issues that are happening currently at Ryerson,” said Natalie Roach, Ryerson’s Mental Health Coordinator.
Sidney Drmay, coordinator at RyeACCESS, said this type of training is incredibly important.
“Faculty members have a huge effect on mental health. The way a classroom is conducted can affect someone’s ability to feel safe in the space,” they said. “A lot of faculty disregard this often and end up causing a lot of damage on students mental health.”
Thus far, trainees are comprised of staff from G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education and the Faculty of Communication and Design.
Tamara Jones, the incoming Ryerson Students’ Union vp equity, ran on a platform that emphasized specialized training for faculty. She hopes to be able to expand on this training in the coming school year. “I’m extremely supportive of it,” she said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how they will approach students and how students will take that kind of interaction with someone they didn’t actually seek out themselves.”