The relatively high prevalence of mental health problems among students at post-secondary institutions in Canada is well documented; in contrast, less is known about the adequacy of mental health services available to Canadian post-secondary students on campuses. Our study sought to examine the current state of campus mental health initiatives and services in Alberta as well as the extent to which resources identified in mental health literature as being key in mental health problem prevention and promotion appear to be available.
A 60-question, online survey was sent to staff (primarily front-line workers; n = 45) at Alberta's 26 publicly funded post-secondary institutions. Responses were organized according to small (less than 2000 students), medium (2000 to 10 000 students), and large (10 000 or more students) institutions.
All of Alberta's post-secondary institutions were represented in the responses. Mental health initiatives and services are available, to varying extent, at all of Alberta's post-secondary institutions. However, many institutions do not have initiatives and (or) services aimed at identifying students with mental health problems or policies for monitoring their mental health services. Additionally, smaller institutions are less likely to offer certain services (for example, gatekeeper training and campus medical services), compared with larger ones. Finally, a systematic review or an evaluation of services appears to be infrequently conducted.
These findings highlight the need for post-secondary institutions in Alberta, and by extension in Canada, to develop and institute a comprehensive strategy to evaluate and optimize the delivery of mental health initiatives and services.