Celebrating campus Champions for Mental Health

Student wellness

Celebrating campus Champions for Mental Health

The program was developed by students in 2021 and has recognized more than 130 Champions for Mental Health to date.

June 12, 2024


More than 40 Queen’s instructors, teaching assistants, and staff members are being recognized as 2024 Champions for Mental Health for creating supportive learning and campus environments. These champions have been nominated by students across faculties and schools, and in Student Affairs, for showing compassion, encouraging a sense of belonging, inspiring health-promoting behaviours, and promoting student mental wellbeing.

The program was developed by students in 2021, in response to student feedback and research calling for increased mental health promotion in academic spaces and campus environments. To date, the program has recognized more than 130 Champions for Mental Health.

"Highlighting the important role of instructors and staff in supporting student wellness through this innovative program continues to be so important," says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost & Dean of Student Affairs. "Students bring their whole selves to university; empathy, kindness, and creating a positive and inclusive environment in a classroom, lab, or service space promotes good mental health and wellbeing.”

Each champion is profiled on the university’s Campus Wellbeing website. The profiles include words from each student nominator about the positive impact the Champion has had on their mental health and wellbeing, as well as thoughts from the Champion themselves about how they approach supporting student mental health.

Thirteen instructors and staff members who were nominated this year, as well as in previous rounds of the program, are being honoured as recurring ‘Superstar’ Champions for Mental Health.  

“Every student is on their own journey and typically has a lot more going on in their life than just academics,” says Superstar Champion Dr. Heather Aldersey (Health Sciences, School of Rehabilitation Therapy). “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.”

Cathleen O’Brien (BHSc’25) has coordinated the program for the past two years, and previously gathered additional insights from Champions about their actions and approaches to promoting student mental health within educational settings. These insights include evidence-informed, low-barrier and high-impact strategies and resources to help educators support student mental health.  

“Working on this project has been refreshing. It’s been fascinating to learn about the everyday, accessible strategies that Champions use to support students daily. Their commitment to student wellbeing and their practical approaches to fostering a supportive environment are truly inspiring,” says O’Brien.

The Champions for Mental Health project advances the Queen's Campus Wellbeing Framework. The framework was developed to encourage and support an inclusive culture of wellbeing that inspires and enables all who live, learn, and work at Queen's to thrive. 

Community Stories
Good Health and Well-Being