Minding Our Minds


The Office of the Dean of Students at Victoria University in the University of Toronto will be hosting our seventh annual conference entitled Minding Our Minds: Mental Health in Higher Education on Monday, October 29th from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM.  This year the theme of the conference will be alcohol and drug use and abuse in the university context.  This is of course timely, given the imminent legalization of cannabis, the urgent need to address opioid use, the use and misuse of prescription stimulants, and the use and misuse of alcohol (and related overlapping issues like sexual violence and self-medication).

The conference is slightly unconventional in that it is broad in scope and is not limited to a particular group of attendees.  Students, administrators, faculty, health care workers, student affairs leaders, psychologists, residence dons, and many more will come together to discuss and learn about some of the issues involved intending to mental health within the university setting.

A detailed conference program will be announced and shared shortly, however, the day will feature two keynote speakers; a discussion panel focusing on student mental health and the effects of substance abuse; student testimonials and personal reflections; and two breakout sessions tailored toward administrators and staff helping students with mental health concerns, both in practice and in policy.

We hope that you will join us on October 29 for a broad discussion on the challenges, initiatives, and moral and intellectual considerations involved in this important and meaningful topic.

Conference Schedule




Coffee, tea, and light breakfast

Victoria College




Kelley Castle, Dean of Students, Victoria University


Land Recognition & Opening Remarks

William Robins, President Victoria University



Morning Keynote Address


A Brain Roadmap to Drug Dependence

Dr. Franco J. Vaccarino, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Guelph

Alumni Hall, Victoria College



Refreshment Break




Panel Discussion


Alcohol and Drug Use on Canadian Campuses:

 Senior Research and Policy Analysts from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction discuss new trends, risk assessments, contextual considerations, risk factors and varied responses for Universities across the country.


Dr. Catherine Paradis & Dr. Matthew Young

Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA)

Alumni Hall



Lunch & Resource Fair


Alumni Hall & Foyer



Afternoon Keynote Address


“1 in 3” - The Mental Health Challenges of Today’s College Students


Dr. Kevin Kruger, President and CEO NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

Alumni Hall


Student Voices

Narratives and Reflections

Alumni Hall



Refreshment Break





Professionally Facilitated Workshops:


Workshop 1.) Alcohol and Cannabis Harms Reduction For Bystanders

The workshop will address harm reduction strategies as they relate to substance use and abuse in students.  It is designed for students and peer leaders to assist in their own lives and in their roles with other students, specifically around alcohol and cannabis use. We will discuss some of the common myths around substance use and mental health, and guide students in being informed and effective friends and mentors in harm reduction.

Stephanie Forestell , RN, B.Sc.N, BKin

Healthy Schools & Substance Misuse Prevention Team,

City of Toronto, Public Health Division



Workshop 2.) Helping Students in Distress


The workshop will address strategies for Faculty and Staff members to appropriately and helpfully respond to students with mental health concerns.  We will discuss some of the ways in which we might identify students who are struggling, and how we can be thoughtful and effective in our support and referrals.  We will also highlight Health and Wellness resources on campus, both for referral purposes and as resources to Staff and Faculty.


Dr. Kate Witheridge, Clinical Psychologist, Health & Wellness, University of Toronto

Alumni Hall & Victoria College Chapel

Date & Location

Monday, October 29, 2018

8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Victoria College - Alumni Hall (Room 119)

More information about the conference location, parking, and food


Please select the appropriate registration option from the list below.

Current Students