Thrive: Building positive mental health for faculty, staff and students

- March 14, 2016

Dal Thrive, a university-wide mental wellness initiative, launches today (March 14), aimed at building a positive mental health environment for faculty, staff and students.

“We recognize the need to change the way we think and act about mental health,” says Jasmine Walsh, acting assistant vice-president, Human Resources and co-project lead for Dal’s Strategic Initiative focusing on Diversity and Inclusiveness. “Thrive is about creating awareness, reducing stigma and improving access to the mental health supports that we have in place.”

Dal Thrive is more than a week-long campaign, it is a mindset that encourages faculty, staff and students to live, work and study in a positive way — to "Thrive" every day.

“We decided to take a more holistic approach to mental health, and that is why we partnered with Human Resources and Dalhousie Student Union to launch Thrive,” adds Verity Turpin, interim executive director, Student Support Services, and executive director, student wellness. “In coming together, it really highlights all of the great work that is happening around our campuses and beyond.”

There are many initiatives already underway as part of Dal Thrive, including the Dalhousie Student Union’s #MyDefinition poster campaign with Dalhousie students sharing their mental health stories; the "Elephant in the Room" campaign introduced on the Agricultural Campus that is set to expand to the Halifax campus later this year; and a series of Mental Health First Aid (faculty, staff & students) and Mental Health 101 (faculty & staff) sessions that will be ongoing.

“As a student leader, I’m excited to be involved with Dal Thrive,” says Dan Nicholson, president, Dalhousie Student Union. “I often hear from students about the need for greater access to mental health supports on campus, and if we can help them through this initiative then we’ve achieved success.”

Visit to learn more about mental health events, resources, supports that are available.

Why Dal Thrive?

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, approximately 20 percent of Canadians will experience mental health challenges at some point in their lives.

Dal Thrive is one of many campus-wide initiatives underway as part of the university’s Strategic Initiative on Diversity and Inclusiveness. The development of a mental wellness plan for faculty, staff and students was a commitment outlined in this strategic initiative. In addition, the results from the 2015 Quality of Work Life Survey of faculty and staff indicated a need for more campus mental health resources, supports and services.
Dal Thrive was adapted from the University of British Columbia (UBC). In 2009, UBC recognized the need to improve its environment as it relates to mental health and developed the first Thrive campaign. Since then, more than 11 colleges and universities across Canada have introduced Thrive.

Upcoming Thrive workshops/sessions

March 22 – Mental Health 101: A presentation for faculty and staff designed to increase awareness and understanding of mental health problems, and increase confidence in supporting students. Register here.

April 4 and 5 - Mental Health First-Aid session (Halifax)
: A two-day program for faculty and staff to learn the basics of mental health conditions and develop strategies for responding to different situations. Register here. There are also free Mental Health First-Aid sessions available for students in April, however there is a wait list. Learn more.

May 1 and 2 – Mental Health First-Aid session (Truro): Register here.


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