Image of Dr. Heather Aldersey

Dr. Heather Aldersey

Associate Professor


School of Rehabilitation Therapy

Dr. Aldersey understands how life circumstances affect one's mental health. She advises me on how to take care of my mental well-being - since being a Ph.D. student can be stressful. She advised me to take leave when I was hesitant about it, and I am glad I took her advice. I was sometimes behind schedule and she NEVER complained about that. Instead, she was incredibly supportive, understood what I was going through, and pointed out the things I was doing well and small things I could work on when such challenges occur. This may seem like a small or negligible thing for other people, but for me, it was the main thing that kept me sane and keeps me positive through this challenging Ph.D. journey.

Dr. Aldersey, has been an unwavering source of support throughout my PhD journey, even during challenging times. Her words and actions consistently demonstrate a deep concern for my mental health and well-being. She offers verbal support by reminding me often to prioritize self-care and mental health above all else. Her encouragement to take breaks, seek support when needed, and maintain a healthy work-life balance has been invaluable. She creates a safe space for open communication about any challenges I face without judgment or pressure. She is flexible with deadlines during personal or professional challenges, understanding that life can be unpredictable. She also provides resources and guidance for managing stress and workload effectively, ensuring that I feel equipped to handle the demands of my research and coursework.

She puts aside any conflicts of interest she might have because of her many roles and gives me genuine advice on any issues I bring to her for discussion or support. Dr. Aldersey's support has helped me navigate difficult moments with resilience and confidence, knowing I have someone who genuinely cares about my success and happiness. Her mentorship has not only shaped my academic journey but has also contributed significantly to my overall growth as a researcher and individual. I am almost finished with my Ph.D., and I wouldn't have reached this stage without her support!

Anonymous Students

Mental health means that we can cope with the challenges that life sends our way and participate in the community in ways that are meaningful and fulfilling to us. 

Every student is on their own journey and typically has a lot more going on in their life than just academics. Although I have high expectations for all the students with whom I work and do my best to support them to achieve my high expectations, I also recognize that sometimes life happens and things don't always go according to plans, and that's OK too. Educators and staff can support and enhance student mental health and wellbeing by building relationships with the student and recognizing them as a whole person.

I know that oftentimes, the climate in university (for students and others) can be incredibly intense, often with the pressure to perform or 'do more'. Without setting boundaries and being kind to ourselves, which can have a negative impact on overall well being, having a culture of collaboration and community, where we are all looking out for and supporting one another, is very important to me in my work. In addition to encouraging balance with students myself, I try to foster opportunities for peer support and community engagement among the students with whom I work - so they can have a community of support.

--- Dr. Heather Aldersey