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Prioritizing mental health and wellness

UM establishes Task Force to develop institutional strategy

April 25, 2024 — 

The University of Manitoba is committed to providing a caring, supportive, responsive and safe environment for all members of our campus community. To advance this commitment, UM will develop a new institutional mental health and well-being strategy.

A Task Force on Mental Health and Well-being has been formed, led by co-chairs Tracey Peter, Vice-Provost (Academic Affairs), Laurie Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students), and René Ouellette, Associate Vice-President (Human Resources). The task force will investigate the current mental health supports available across each of our campuses, consider promising practices, review data collected from recent surveys and engage in consultations with our campus community to ultimately formulate recommendations for consideration.

The task force intends to hold its first meeting in April, and in the coming months will announce the formation of several working groups. The task force aims to present initial findings in the fall of this year, and a final report and recommendations by Summer 2025.

Our recently launched strategic plan, MomentUM: Leading the Change Together, identifies well-being as a core value and emphasizes the importance of safety, respect and social connection as essential to mental health and well-being for the UM community and its individual members.

“We are committed to supporting the health and well-being of members within our diverse community. By prioritizing this work and collaborating across various positions and units, we aim to build an environment that supports individuals to grow and thrive,” says Diane Hiebert-Murphy, Provost and Vice-President (Academic).

There are many resources in place to support the mental health and wellness of our students, staff and faculty members. We encourage you to visit our Wellness and Mental Health webpage to take advantage of the resources currently available. However, there is still more work to be done to build on UM’s previous mental health strategy, and create a robust and comprehensive strategy that reflects present-day opportunities and challenges.

“We recognize that many groups have been working hard to advance mental health in their units, for their students, staff and faculty members,” says Vice-President (Administration), Naomi Andrews. “A robust strategy will tie together all of our efforts to cultivate a supportive campus environment.”

Introducing UM’s Mental Health and Well-being Task Force:


  • Tracey Peter, Vice-Provost (Academic Affairs)
  • Laurie Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students)
  • René Ouellette, Associate Vice-President (Human Resources

Academic administrators

  • Angie Bruce, Vice-President (Indigenous)
  • Kelley Main, Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies
  • Ayush Kumar, Associate Dean, Faculty of Science
  • Leisha Strachan, Associate Dean, Faculty of Kinesiology & Recreation Management

Student representatives

  • Divya Sharma, President Elect, UMSU
  • Christopher Yendtz, President, UMGSA
  • Leena Regi Saleth, HSGSA Representative

Faculty members

  • Danna McDonald, Student Counselling Centre
  • Shay-Lee Bolton, Department of Psychiatry, Max Rady College of Medicine
  • Kristin Reynolds, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts
  • Jennifer Watt, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Education

Staff members

  • Leah Deane, Director, Student Services at Bannatyne
  • Edgar French, Coordinator, Spiritual Care and Multi-Faith Centre
  • Carla Loewen, Director, Indigenous Student Centre
  • Christine Nairn, Director, Office of Sustainability

Resource members

  • Don Stewart, Executive Director, Student Supports
  • Oluchi Ogbu, Faculty Relations Specialist
  • Janique Philippe, Employee Wellness Specialist
  • Arlana Vadnais, Associate Director, Wellness & Prevention
  • Sarah Vanderveen, Communications Coordinator

Please visit the Wellness and Mental Health webpage for updates, including upcoming opportunities to join one of several working groups of the Task Force and how to participate in the consultation process.


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