Last update: September 6, 2022

UBC is committed to meeting the mental health needs of our student population. We are implementing a UBC-wide mental health strategy based on collaboration and stepped care. This model is informed by literature on best practices as well as themes identified in campus-wide consultations conducted by Richard Keeling and Associates in 2015. View the final report by Keeling and Associates here.

This model aims to provide appropriate, coordinated, and timely care for students at all levels of mental health. The main features of the model are:

  1. Multiple First Points of Contact, including a re-envisioned Wellness Center providing a first point of contact for students who aren’t currently connected to resources, all feeding into integrated assessment and care planning. Traditional points of contact, such as faculty members, Advising offices, and so forth will continue to serve the important functions that they do as first points of contact.
  2. Implementation of a Stepped Care System across an expanded circle of care that enables stepping care up or down based on a student’s progress.  
  3. Collaborative Integrative Practice across health care providers (HCP) including physicians, psychiatrists, accessibility advisors, wellness advisors, counsellors, and Managers of Student Support Services (case managers). 

This model aims to establish a diverse and inclusive community of practice that can evolve to meet UBC students’ unique mental health needs over time. Staff and faculty are integral to the success of a mental health support network and will be included in a professional development plan to support the implementation of the service model.

Current Progress

Implementation of the new model is progressing well through the work of staff teams from across the Vancouver campus. 

Since early September, three newly hired Wellness Advisors have been providing student wellness assessments, care planning, and resource referral as the first point of contact in the offices of Counselling Services and Access and Diversity. The Wellness Advisors are receiving training and participating in referrals in these offices, and will be transitioned to Counselling Services full-time from October to December.

Staff outside of the core wellness units will refer students to wellness services as before, while counsellors, physicians, and accessibility advisors begin sharing resources and expertise to better serve students’ mental health needs and streamline care provision. Notably, a common system is being developed that will allow wellness professionals to:

  • Share relevant information related to students’ wellness plans across units, where appropriate and when consent is given
  • Access a bank of student self-help resources that have been formally reviewed for their effectiveness, professionalism, and confidentiality.

Should you encounter a student in distress or crisis, please continue to refer the student to Counselling Services, following the green folder emergency procedures as before. In the coming months, you will be invited to an orientation session to familiarize yourself with the new Wellness Centre—which is anticipated to open in January 2017—and the resulting referral procedures.

These changes will ensure that student wellness professionals have the time and resources needed to support students in a more informed and coordinated manner. Ultimately, this support network will provide the best possible mental health and wellbeing services to UBC students.

Development of the model to date has been informed by feedback from staff and students. We will continue to seek input from the campus community as the model is fully implemented. Please share your ideas or ask questions about the collaborative care model using the faculty and staff feedback form.

We will also continue to provide updates on the implementation process as it unfolds. You may view these updates online at any time at We also invite you to share this and future messages about the collaborative stepped care model with your colleagues as appropriate.

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