What is the U-Flourish Research Project?

Your success, your well-being

The U-Flourish Project is a longitudinal study that will be examining the well-being and academic success of students over the course of their university studies.

Since this research launched in September 2018 with a baseline electronic survey sent to all first year incoming undergraduates, thousands of Queen’s students have joined the conversation and “had their say” by completing electronic surveys every Fall and Winter semester. We expanded the survey, inviting all undergraduate students to share how they were managing in the wake of COVID-19 in July 2020.

We are now further expanding the UFlourish Project to include all interested undergraduate and graduate students across programs and years of study. Our goal, together with students, is to understand better what is needed to guide the development and enhancement of services and initiatives that will ensure a successful transition to university life and strong mental health throughout university. This study is also being done in collaboration with the University of Oxford so that we can compare between universities and countries. 

Featured Articles


Best Practices in Canadian Higher Ed. features U-Flourish

Best Practices in Canadian Higher Ed., a national mental health practice and knowledge exchange network, features U-Flourish and other Canadian mental health research, project, and initiatives. 

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Screenshot of the Queen's Gazette website

Student mental health in the age of COVID-19

(Oct 14, 2020, Queen's Gazette)

For months now, tuning in to the news has meant unleashing a deluge of coverage about the coronavirus pandemic. In an effort to keep informed, we watch the experts — health care leaders, academics, journalists, politicians — discuss and debate COVID-19 effects on our lungs or hearts, our economies, our education; our day-to-day routines.

Last week, a panel of Queen’s University experts hosted a virtual discussion with hundreds of Queen’s students and community members about another, lesser-discussed impact of the pandemic: the toll it is having on our mental health...

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How Can I Get Involved?

All students who have completed a UFlourish study in the past are eligible to participate in future studies. This includes any student who completed the July 2020 COVID-19 Student survey. If you have not yet joined the UFlourish survey study, please look out for an invitation coming to you in the fall or winter semester to your Queen’s student email. Undergraduate and graduate students will be invited to participate. Thank you to those who have completed our surveys thus far!

Stay tuned for more information about upcoming surveys, findings, and ways to let us know what you need to succeed.

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student on a couch looking at a smartphone

You should participate in U-Flourish because it will be the first study of its kind to examine fully what determines whether a student will be successful at university, right here at Queen's. The purpose of this study is to gather information that can be used across the Queen’s departments in order to implement positive changes to the overall student experience. You will have the opportunity to tell us about what you need to succeed as a student during the regular school year and even help us understand how COVID-19 has, and may continue to, impact students at Queen’s.






 Initial findings from the Baseline 2018 U-Flourish Survey

You spoke, we learned there were difference in symptoms across genders
You spoke, we learned there were difference in symptoms across genders


You spoke, we learned about the rate of current treatment. 8.5% of Queen's students were receiving at least some form of support or help for their mental health team
You spoke, we learned about the rate of current treatment. 8.5% of Queen's students were receiving at least some form of support or help for their mental health team


We learned the extent of substance use and binge drinking. With 25% of students reporting binge drinking at least once a week; and 11% reported using cannabis at least once a week.
We learned the extent of substance use and binge drinking. With 25% of students reporting binge drinking at least once a week; and 11% reported using cannabis at least once a week. 


You spoke, we learned there were difference in symptoms across genders
You spoke, we learned there were difference in symptoms across genders


You spoke we heard almost 20% of students reported significant problems with their sleep
You spoke we heard almost 20% of students reported significant problems with their sleep


You spoke, we heard 32.5% of all students reported experiencing significant symptoms of anxiety. 27.6% of all students reported experiencing significant symptoms of depression
You spoke, we heard 32.5% of all students reported experiencing significant symptoms of anxiety. 27.6% of all students reported experiencing significant symptoms of depression

How students are feeling during the COVID-19 outbreak

The impact of COVID-19 and associated social distancing


Dr. Anne Duffy, MD, MSc, FRCPC
Principal Investigator

Why U-Flourish is important to Dr. Duffy:

Universities have an obligation to provide a healthy environment that fosters student well-being and scholarship, while ensuring appropriate resources are in place to support students with existing or emerging mental health concerns. Almost 50% of high school graduates now attend university, hence the university population increasingly resembles the wider emerging adult population. The transition to university life comes at a critical time of accelerated brain, intellectual and psychosocial development coupled with exposure to a number of academic, social and financial stressors. Moreover, adolescence and early adulthood represents the peak risk period for onset of mental illness. Over 40% of university students report feeling stressed and over 25% identify as having an existing mental health or learning challenge. Yet there is limited research to inform universities about how to address the spectrum of need for an increasingly diverse student population – from developing resiliency and academic support resources to crisis intervention to providing timely and effective programs for students with evolving mental illness.

The U-Flourish study examines why some first-year Queen's students flourish in term so their academic success and emotional well-being, while others do not. We are also evaluating the student experience with and efficacy of digitally supported well-being resources and self-monitoring for students with common mental health related concerns.  This year, in partnership with the Clinical Development Unit at Queen’s, we will be developing and evaluating an online for credit course in mental health literacy.  Our research involves collaboration across campus and institutions and is student-informed.  We expect that findings will inform the development of resources to support students in the transition to university life.  However, to be successful, we need to hear from you - the students.  Please consider taking part in this important student focused research.

Dr. Christopher Bowie, Ph.D., C.Psych 

Why U-Flourish is important to Dr. Bowie

FLOURISH will be one of the largest surveys student mental health at a critical time. There has been an enormous growth increase in awareness of the importance of mental health during this critical stage of life. In spite of this growing attention, we are essentially ‘flying in the dark’, when it comes to preparing for students’ mental health and making decisions about how to provide helpful resources. The challenges stem from the very limited evidence we have from systematic studies of how mental health and academic success evolve over a student’s time at university. FLOURISH is the first in a series of studies that we will carry out to provide much needed clarity about the realities of student mental health and will change the landscape of how universities support students.

Meet the Research Team

U-Flourish is possible because of the dedicated efforts of students and researchers.

Interested in contributing to our research team? Contact us! 

Dr. Brooke Linden, Ph.D.
 Adjunct Assistant Professor

Why U-Flourish is important to Dr. Linden:

Investigating post-secondary student mental health has been my passion for a decade. In addition to conducting my own program of research concerning student stress, I am excited to have joined the U-Flourish team to make measurable impacts on improving post-secondary student mental health and wellness.

Dr. William Pickett, Ph.D.
 Associate Professor, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences (Brock)

Why U-Flourish is important to Dr. Pickett:

He is particularly interested in understanding the factors that allow young people to thrive in terms of their mental, social and spiritual health. In his day to day work as a researcher and educator, he sees the many challenges that young people face vocationally at Queen’s, and is excited to support efforts to gather new evidence that will ultimately assist in creating conditions on campus that are positive and caring.

Melissa Milanovic
Clinical Psychology PhD Candidate (Queen's)

Why U-Flourish is important to Melissa: 

A necessary first step in discovering how to best support students is to understand what factors are clearly involved in student success, across mental health, academic, and wellness outcomes. The U-Flourish study provides a unique opportunity to identify some of these important factors and in turn inform the development of evidence-based programs to foster the flourishing of Queen’s students.  

Daniel Rivera, BScH 
 Research Assistant (Queen's)

Why U-Flourish is important to Daniel:

I have worked on the U-Flourish project since September 2017, creating a plan to engage students with the project – a critical aspect of it. Looking at mental health, academic outcomes, and other aspects of students’ health and wellness, U-Flourish has the potential to mold Queen’s into a place even more conducive to creating positive outcomes for all students who attend or will attend our university. 

Jake Rose

Role: Research Assistant (Queen's)

Why U-Flourish is important to Jake:

In recent years, there has been an increasing need to take a closer look at the mental health and well-being of university students, which seems to be lagging behind that of the general population. I believe the U-Flourish project is an exciting and crucial step to understanding why we see the health discrepancy that we do, and what action can be taken to address it. I see U-Flourish providing critical evidence that will inform positive institutional changes not only here at Queen's, but worldwide. 

Jin Buyn
Role: Student Engagement Lead (Queen's)

Why U-Flourish is important to Jin:

Student well-being and mental health are pinnacles to accomplishing goals and improving the student experience. Understanding unique factors that both negatively and positively impact student experience is the first step to improving it. As an undergraduate student, I am delighted to help the U-Flourish team. By creating accessible resource pathways, acknowledging student well-being, and amplifying student voice, I hope this work provides struggling students with a chance to flourish.

Anjalika Khanna Roy
Student Engagement Team Member (Queen's)

Why U-Flourish is important to Anjalika

University is a time of great change and a wonderful opportunity for personal growth. I think it is really important for all students to have the chance to thrive and to make the most of their university experience. As someone who has been actively engaged in student wellbeing, I am thrilled to be part of the U-Flourish team on the student engagement committee! I believe that understanding what helps students to do well physically, mentally and academically, as well as identifying the barriers to flourishing, are crucial for future student success and the development of resources to support them. 

Dr. Kate Harkness, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychology (Queen's)

Why U-Flourish is important to Dr. Harkness:

For many, University is a stressful, yet exciting transition full of opportunities for growth and challenge. However, for others this stress can be overwhelming. What I find so exciting about the U-Flourish project is that it will allow us to better understand the factors that contribute to positive mental health and resiliency in our students. And, it will allow us to identify factors that place some students at risk for mental health challenges during this time. Ultimately, we will be able to use this knowledge to work collaboratively with students, staff, and faculty at Queen’s to develop programs that help all students to flourish.

Dr. Stephen McNevin, MD, FRCPC
Psychiatrist, Student Wellness Services (Queen's)

Why U-Flourish is important to Dr. McNevin:

U-Flourish  Represents the first step in building an international network of researchers, clinicians, administrators and most importantly students- all focused on the goal of helping students flourish in their university years.  Guided by the Principal's Commission on Student Mental Health the Queens University Department of Psychiatry  has created a Division of Student Mental Health- one of the first, if not the first, such units at an academic centre.  U-Flourish is central to our mission of serving students with evidenced based initiatives.

Simone Cunningham
: Research Coordinator, Clinical Psychology PhD Candidate (Queen's)

Why U-Flourish is important to Simone: 

I am a PhD student in Clinical Psychology, and I feel very lucky to be part of the Flourish team. I hope that this project will help us learn how mental health impacts functioning at school, and that we can use what we learn to help students succeed and reach their full potential.

Mimi Li
Student Engagement Team Member (Queen's)

Why U-Flourish is important to Mimi:

The transition to university can be exhilarating and illuminating, yet nerve-wracking and very overwhelming. As an undergraduate student at Queen’s, I recognize that there are students who struggle silently through mental health illnesses and may be ashamed or afraid to seek help, or who feel that they do not have access to the resources they need. U-Flourish seeks to not only identify factors that negatively impact student wellness, but to also understand factors that influence positive mental health and resiliency. With this information, we will be able to collaborate with campus institutions and faculties to develop programs and help ease the student transition to university life. 

I feel that it is my duty to help create a resourceful environment for incoming and existing students, and it is with great pleasure that I am able to work with this team to help accomplish these goals and inform the development of much-needed resources on campus.

Nathan King
Role: Postdoctoral Fellow in Public Health Sciences.

Student Well-Being Resource Hub

Learn about U-Flourish

U-Flourish Digital Well-Being Apps

Access the well-being apps

U-Flourish Digitally Supported Care Pathway for Anxiety and Depression

Get support for mental health

Connect with us

For more information about the U-Flourish Student Well-being Research, please feel free to contact the U-Flourish team at flourish@queensu.ca.

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U-Flourish has been continuously funded by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Rossy Family Foundation. We thank the following campus and community partners for providing FLEX credit and food incentives for the student engagement campaign: Queen's University's Division of Student Affairs and Domino's Pizza, respectively.  We also thank all Queen's University Professors, Departments, and student groups that have supported the U-Flourish’s student engagement campaigns.

For the development of the Digital Well-Being Platform, Online Mental Health Course, and integration of digital resources into student care pathways at Student Health Services, we have received funding from the Mach-Gaensslen Foundation.