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Laurier creates critical new mental health role to support student success
In an effort to provide greater support to students dealing with mental health challenges, Laurier has named Adrienne Luft to the critical new role of mental health/student support team leader – making Laurier one of only three Canadian universities to create such a role.
In this new position, Luft will lead Laurier’s institutional mental health strategy. She will also act as a conduit for students seeking help for mental health or academic challenges by connecting them to services inside and outside of the university.
Dean of Students Leanne Holland Brown says this new role is critical.
“Given what we know about the prevalence of mental health struggles and the distinct needs of our university students, this role further evidences Laurier's commitment to students' personal and academic success,” says Holland Brown.
Luft will also lead the implementation of a new $40,000 grant from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund. The funds will support a mental health and awareness-training program for faculty, staff and students to help them identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness.
“We need to have the tools to respond to students in a supportive way,” said Luft. “This program will help us do that, and make people more aware of services on campus and in the community.”
The grant will also go toward developing a peer-based program, expanding the resource library, and creating an anti-stigma video featuring Laurier students that can be shown during orientation events and training. As well, Laurier will join a U.S.-based research study aimed at gaining a better understanding of mental health on campuses.
“Students have a right to an education and a right to be well,” said Luft. “We need to ensure students don’t fall between the cracks and we need to help support student success.”
Luft joined Laurier in 2009 as a disability consultant in the Accessible Learning Centre. She has a BA from the University of Waterloo and a Master of Social Work from Laurier.
Luft’s office is located in the Dean of Students office in the Fred Nichols Campus Centre at Laurier’s Waterloo campus. She can be reached by phone at 519-884-0710 ext. 2196 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.