Nov. 4, 2021

National certification recognizes UCalgary’s work in mental health

Excellence Canada Mental Health at Work Gold is a community effort
Ewan Nicholson, for the University of Calgary

After continued progress and support of staff and faculty mental health and well-being over the past several years, the University of Calgary has received the 2021 Mental Health at Work Gold Level Certification at the Canada Awards for Excellence.

Presented by Excellence Canada, Mental Health at Work is a progressive, four-level certification process (bronze, silver, gold, platinum), and every year includes an honorary Order of Excellence recognition. The certification recognizes Canadian organizations for outstanding policies, strategies, practices and results in supporting mental health in the workplace. The framework used to assess organizations for this award is in alignment with the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, which is also being implemented at UCalgary. UCalgary previously earned silver in the category in 2017 and bronze in 2016.

Following the announcement, UCalgary leaders weighed in on the strides the community has made in prioritizing mental health and recognizing the people involved in being recognized for the award.

“We strive for excellence in providing programs supporting employee mental health,” says Darren Ferleyko, BA’96, director of staff wellness. “We continue to evolve, focused on meeting the needs of our employees, creating a culture where individual and community resilience is a priority and are developing an environment where we can flourish.

“We are on this journey as a community and I am grateful that at UCalgary mental health is a priority, especially with the challenges we have faced this last year and a half.”

Through research and consultation, “We’ve reshaped how we support our community during the pandemic,” says Dr. Andrew Szeto, PhD, director of the Campus Mental Health Strategy. “Although COVID has altered campus life, we’ve continued and grown our mental health training and workshop offerings. We’ve also co-hosted the inaugural Collaborations for Change post-secondary mental health conference, integrated psychosocial factors into professional development activities, and much more.”

UCalgary President Ed McCauley stresses the importance of supporting community well-being. “Research, learning, entrepreneurship and innovation thrive when our UCalgary community members’ well-being is supported,” he says. “I am proud to accept Excellence Canada’s Mental Health at Work Gold Level Certification because I’ve seen the hard work of so many contributing to the policies, strategies, practices and resources that support our community. This award recognizes these efforts and we are honoured to receive it.”

The ceremony for award recipients will take place Nov. 4. It marks Excellence Canada’s 37th year honouring leaders in mental health.

President McCauley’s acceptance video, submitted ahead of the ceremony.

The University of Calgary’s Campus Mental Health Strategy is a bold commitment to the importance of mental health and well-being of our university family. Our vision is to be a community where we care for each other, learn and talk about mental health and well-being, receive support as needed, and individually and collectively realize our full potential.

At the time of publication, annual wellness expo UFlourish is in full swing. Build compassion, community and connection through a series of workshops, seminars and events at UCalgary to support your mental health. Learn more and register for events here.