A new mental health intervention program to aid students in crisis on campus will be launched this month at the University of Guelph. The Integrated Mobile Police and Crisis Team (IMPACT) is a one-year pilot program intended to bring mental health expertise to interventions with students on campus.

In partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) of Waterloo-Wellington, a mental health worker hired by CMHA will be based on campus four days a week to respond along with campus safety officers to student calls for help. Distress calls from anywhere on campus will be taken by the Campus Safety Office dispatcher, who will notify officers and the IMPACT worker to respond together.

For any intervention, the team will determine what next steps to take, including transferring individuals to the hospital or referring them to wellness services on or off campus. Most of that responsibility will fall to the IMPACT worker trained in interventions and assessments. Student wellness staff who encounter individuals at risk during the week can proactively flag potential concerns with the IMPACT worker before the weekend.

Funded through provincial support to the university, the new service is expected to improve clinical interventions and outcomes for individuals.