Navi Mental Health Wayfinder

Student Mental Health Evaluation 

Re-envisioning Student Mental Health Services

In response to the 2019 Presidential and Provostial Task Force Report on Student Mental Health, the University of Toronto (U of T) is re-envisioning how mental health services and resources are delivered to and accessed by students on all three campuses. One important step in the re-design process has been implementing a Stepped Care Model of care, which organizes services and resources from low to high intensity to meet student needs. The model prioritizes reducing wait times by offering same or next day counselling when requested. For students with highly complex or urgent needs, service navigation that integrates campus- and hospital-based care has also been implemented. In partnership with Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), U of T students have access to Navigators to help guide their transitions from hospital to community or campus-based care.  A similar model will be built to support UTM and UTSC students in the future.

To date, approximately 90% of the 21 task force recommendations have been implemented; the rest are now underway. 

Visit the University of Toronto website to learn more about this model of care.

About the Tri-Campus Student Mental Health Team 

The Tri-Campus Student Mental Health team was established in response to the recommendations of the Task Force Report. The team, led by Chris Bartha, Senior Executive Director, Student Mental Health, collaborates on a range of projects with the overall goal of improving student mental health services at U of T. In collaboration with many partners, including the three university health centres, and the team leads initiatives to enhance and expand access to mental health resources and services for students.

Current and Planned Evaluation Projects

To understand how the re-envisioning of mental health services at the University has had an impact on student mental health access and outcomes, several evaluation projects are currently underway. A Tri-Campus Student Mental Health Evaluation Project Working Group was convened in 2021. The primary objective of this group is to advise on tri-campus projects designed to evaluate the impact of initiatives to advance the mental health vision of the University. Inlight collaborates with and advises the working group to achieve common goals in student mental health.  

The Student Perception of Mental Health Care Survey

Purpose: to collect student experience data to track quality of care and inform service improvement.   

Project details: Youth Satisfaction with (mental health) Service Scale was selected and adapted for use at the University by students, including the Inlight SAC. Based on the adapted scale, the first Student Perception of Mental Health Care Survey was distributed to students in November 2022 for a 3-week period. Survey results were analyzed in early 2023. Dissemination of survey findings to students began in November 2023. The next version of the survey is to be launched in 2024 in consultation with students, including the Inlight SAC.  

A full report on the findings of the first Student Perception of Mental Health Care Survey can be found here 

How to get involved: 

Sign up to be involved in future consultations on the survey

Sign up to be included in the next survey administration

Student Mental Health Data Quality Project

Purpose: To develop a method for collecting student mental health data from the campus health centres that supports the development of a valid and reliable dataset to be used to guide service improvements. 

Project Details: The three campus health centres are now using the same electronic medical record (EMR), enabling consistent, comprehensive data collection that allows one student to seamlessly access any health centre without having to provide the same information repeatedly. One EMR also ensures safer care, because the clinicians can see the entire student record. To ensure data is entered the same way on each campus, a new model for data entry has been developed. Staff will be trained on the new data entry approach in early 2024, with the new model fully implemented by Spring 2024.  

Outcomes: A high-quality, comprehensive, tri-campus dataset to be used by the Student Mental Health team to support evaluation of mental health services will be ready by the 2024-25 academic year. 

Evaluation of the University of Toronto Navigator (UTN) service at Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Purpose: Design and implement an evaluation of the UTN service at CAMH. 

Project Details: The UTN Service started at CAMH in September 2022 with one full time Navigator. A second Navigator was added January 2023. Evaluation of the service is ongoing. 

Findings: Early findings from the service evaluation will be available soon.  

Evaluation of Single Session Counselling (upcoming)

Purpose: To design and implement an evaluation of single session counselling at U of T. 

Project details: Single session counselling, also called One-At-A-Time (OAAT) counselling, was added to the mental health services available at the health centres to increase access to same day/next day counselling. We are beginning to design an evaluation to assess how single sessions increase access and improve outcomes. The Inlight SAC and other students across the three campuses will be invited to be involved in the co-design of this project in the coming months.  

Findings: Findings will be shared here once the evaluation has been undertaken.   

How to get involved: 

Sign up to be involved in future consultations on the project. 

Data Collection

Healthcare service improvement can only be accomplished through rigorous measurement and analysis of results. The mental health strategy has prioritized excellence in data collection to support evaluation of all aspects of the stepped care implementation. Data is gathered and stored according to best practices, ensuring that information collected as part of evaluation activities is used for evaluation purposes only.  Aggregated results of evaluation projects are available to the University community through a communication process that involves student collaboration. In addition, aggregated findings that meet standards for publication will be disseminated to the wider academic community through conference presentations and within the peer reviewed literature.  

For general questions about student mental health evaluations, please contact:

Sarah Brennenstuhl, MSW, PhD, is a Senior Research Associate with Inlight and the Data Strategy and Evaluation Lead for Student Mental Health. Sarah co-leads the Tri-Campus Mental Health Evaluation Project Working Group.