A new wellness support program at Brescia University College will target students in crisis.

The Brescia Care Program aims to educate staff and faculty to recognize problematic behaviours and to identify, based on a distress framework, whether there is mild, moderate or extreme concern associated with those behaviours.

“We are training them to look for signs that could be an early indicator of a student who might be struggling with a specific issue, and we are asking staff and faculty to bring those cases forward. We will put them through our triage process,” said Marianne Simm, vice-principal of students at Brescia.

Simm said that motivation for the program came from a 2014 Brescia campus review, which found there was a great desire to move away from crisis intervention and towards a more holistic, campus-wide approach to support students.

“The care program is really trying to shift our resources from supporting students in crisis, so being very reactionary, to trying to support students before they’ve reached a point where they are either in a health crisis, financial crisis or a position of academic withdrawal,” said Simm.

According to Simm, early stages of the program will involve investments in human resources, followed by investments in infrastructure and technology further down the line.

The Care Program is modelled after similar programs at the University of British Columbia and Wilfrid Laurier University.

Simm said that UBC, specifically, had contributed a lot of information on program structure and the feasibility of implementing it at Western University.

“We really engaged our student leaders so they can support the communication and awareness of the program across the community,” said Simm.

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