Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health – Membership Announcement and Draft Outreach & Engagement Plan (PDAD&C#90)

From: President Meric Gertler
Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost
Date: May 31, 2019
Re: Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health – Membership Announcement and Draft Outreach & Engagement Plan (PDAD&C#90)

In the Provost’s Digest on April 5, we announced the call for nominations for the membership of the Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health as part of a four-part action plan on student mental health and wellness outlined in the President’s letter to students, staff, and faculty on March 28.

We received an unprecedented response to our call for nominations. We are heartened by the level of interest from across the University and surrounding communities to engage in this important process and want to extend our appreciation to everyone who put forward nominations. After careful consideration of the composition of the Task Force, we have added two additional members – one more undergraduate student and one more staff member – in order to have broader representation from across the University.

We are pleased to announce the membership of the Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health:


  • Professor Trevor Young, Vice-Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine


  • Egag Egag, MSW Student, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
  • Jayson Jeyakanthan, University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Corey McAuliffe, PhD Candidate, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
  • Aurora Nowicki, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering


  • Chloe Hamza, Assistant Professor, Applied Psychology & Human Development, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
  • William Ju, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology Program, Faculty of Arts & Science
  • Ruth Ross, Chair and Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine

Administrative Staff:

  • Elsie Obeng-Kingsley, Student Welfare Case Coordinator, University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Melinda Scott, Dean of Students, University College, University of Toronto
  • Sherry Yuan Hunter, Associate Registrar, University of Toronto Mississauga

Senior Assessors:

  • Professor Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students
  • Professor Joshua Barker, Vice-Provost, Graduate Research & Education and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies

Project Support:

In addition to the Task Force core membership, we are pleased that Bonnie Kirsh, Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, and Caroline Rabbat, Director, Critical Incidents, Safety & Health Awareness, Faculty of Arts & Science have agreed to serve as Outreach and Engagement Co-Leads. They will chair the in-person outreach and engagement sessions that will take place throughout the summer and fall.

Staff members in the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students will provide support for the Task Force: Katie Bobra, Assistant Director, Health Promotion and Strategic Projects; Jeff Burrow, Manager, Assessment & Analysis, Student Life; and Cheryl A. Gibbs, Assistant Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students.

The Task Force will present its findings and recommendations to us by December 2019. For more information on the Task Force and its Terms of Reference, please see the Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health page on the Provost’s website.

Draft Outreach and Engagement Plan – For Feedback

The Task Force will begin its work immediately and will consult widely among individuals and groups from all estates in the University community, especially students. We have posted a Draft Outreach and Engagement Plan on the Provost’s website and invite all members of the University community to review it and provide feedback to help inform how the Task Force connects with stakeholders. The final version of the Outreach and Engagement plan will be shared on this site and will be updated, as the work of the Task Force gets underway.

We ask that you submit any comments or questions via the online form, which will be open until June 21, 2019.

Next Steps

After consultation on the Draft Outreach and Engagement Plan concludes, the Task Force will launch its first phase of online consultation and in-person meetings in July/August. We understand that not everyone is on campus during the summer months and appreciate that this is especially important when it comes to reaching and involving our student population. We wish to reassure members of our community that opportunities to participate in both online and in-person meetings will be available in the fall term. As we indicated in the April 5 memo, we know that this time of year is challenging for some, but the urgency of the issues to be considered by the Task Force requires us to get started on this work as soon as possible.

We look forward to hearing from all interested members of the University community on this important initiative. Questions about the Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Mental Health may be directed to Cheryl Gibbs, Assistant Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students who will be providing support to the Task Force, at

Resources & Supports

Feeling distressed? Find someone to talk to right now – and if there is an immediate risk, call 911.

The following are some of the mental health services available to students on all three campuses:

Downtown Toronto: Health and Wellness Centre (416-978-8030), located at Koffler Student Services

U of T Scarborough: Health & Wellness Centre 416-287-7065 

U of T Mississauga: Health & Counselling Centre 905-828-5255

Round-the-Clock Support

Free 24/7 support is available outside the University. Students, staff and faculty can speak to a trained crisis worker at any hour of the day.

Good 2 Talk Student Helpline 1-866-925-5454. Professional counselling, information and referrals for mental health, addictions, and well-being.

Gerstein Crisis Centre 416-929-5200 

Distress Centres of Greater Toronto 416-408-HELP (4357)

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at 250 College Street

Anishnawbe Health Toronto Mental Health Crisis Line 416-360-0486

My SSP for U of T Students 1-844-451-9700. Immediate counselling support is available in 35 languages and ongoing support in 146 languages.

Appointed faculty and staff have access to the Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP), offered through Homewood Health, online and by phone at 1-800-663-1142.