Jonathan Morris: Practicing Solidarity in Campus Mental Health Promotion

A community of practice (CoP) approach holds promise for responding to the increasing complexities of mental health, harmful substance use, and suicidal behaviour within campus communities. The Healthy Minds/Healthy Campuses Initiative (CMHA-BC & Here to Help) represents a CoP comprised of post-secondary community members from across BC. This presentation will (a) explore how CoPs can support the mission of campus mental health promotion; (b) demonstrate exemplar CoP activities; and (c) provide an overview of our community’s recent successes.

The context of the higher education institution presents a unique opportunity to take collaborative action in response to the complex phenomena of mental health, harmful substance use, and suicidal behaviour within campus communities. Our community of practice holds a space for students, campus professionals, faculty, and administrators to identify locally relevant priorities and take action together through learning and dialogue. We facilitate and support creative learning opportunities, informed by the latest research and practice, with the goal of helping campus community members to accomplish change at the local, regional, and provincial level. Our work together is driven by the collective expertise, intelligence, and energy of our community.

During this workshop session Jonny will:

* Provide a brief overview of the theoretical and practical underpinnings of community of practice work;

* Highlight some of the values and principles that inform our collaborative work, some of our recent accomplishments, innovations, challenges, and our future plans;

* Facilitate a number of exemplar activities to further illustrate the concept of a “community of practice”;

 

Participants will:

* Learn about some of the major theoretical and practical underpinnings of community of practice work;

* Learn about a number of learning activities that can feature in communities of practice;

* Learn about an existing community of practice focused on post-secondary mental health, harmful substance use, and suicide prevention.

 

Jonathan has coordinated the Healthy Minds/Healthy Campuses Initiative since July 2008. He has recently completed his MA in Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. He has worked in residence life, student government, and most recently has completed a clinical practicum at UVic’s Counselling Services. His current role with Healthy Minds involves coordinating a broad community of practice working toward a provincial vision of mental health and less harmful substance use on campus.

 

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