Mental health professionals assist University of Guelph campus security guards with student calls



Mental health workers will be available to help campus security guards answer calls from students at the University of Guelph this year.

The mental health intervention program is designed to help students in crisis, the university said in a press release. Mental health workers will be available four days a week thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association of Waterloo-Wellington.

The program will go into effect on October 21 as part of a one-year pilot project.

Alison Burnett, director of student welfare services at U of G, said she believed it was the first university to send mental health professionals with campus safety.

“With the return to campus for classes, there are concerns and evidence that people may have mental health issues during the pandemic,” she said in a press release. “We want to increase the available resources.

Mobile Integrated Police and Crisis Team (IMPACT) workers will be dispatched to calls with a security guard through the campus security office.

Most responses to those calls, including transferring people to hospital or referral to on and off campus services, will be done by the IMPACT worker trained in intervention and assessment, the release said.

“With IMPACT, you have a highly skilled person who knows what the resources are and how to assess people,” David Lee, director of the Campus Security Office, said in the statement. “They can tell us if anyone can be better cared for and supported in the hospital or on campus.”

IMPACT workers will be on campus Thursdays from 3 p.m. to midnight and Friday to Sunday from 2 p.m. to midnight.

Staff can also report issues throughout the week to IMPACT employees when they come to campus.

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