North Island College on a sunny evening.

Photo Credit: Tamwood

North Island College Launches its Mental Health and Well-being Strategy

The CARE² plan features goals for the next five years

Rise-and-grind culture is not sustainable

Student life can be hard. Hell, life can be hard. 

Having good mental health, or being mentally healthy, is more than just not being sick. It’s a state of overall well-being.

This works on a personal level and in a community. And North Island College (NIC) plans to help keep its community mentally healthy. With campuses in four towns and centres in Indigenous territories all over VanIsle, that’s a sizeable student body.

Earlier this month, the college published the CARE² plan. CARE² aligns with NIC’s BUILD 2026 Strategic Plan, its Indigenization Plan, and its Working Together Plan. All of these commit to supporting students and creating a culture of care and compassion.

CARE² was created using input from NIC students and informed by the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-being for Post-Secondary Students.

Felicity Blaiklock is NIC’s Director of Student Affairs. “Our aim is to build on the solid foundation that exists at NIC,” she said in a statement.

In the statement, she explained that up till now, NIC’s approach to mental health was all about counseling for students in crisis. But going forward, they want to build resilience in all students. That could help keep more students from reaching the most difficult mental health situations in the first place.

“The CARE² Plan identifies the need to view all aspects of NIC’s operations through a mental health and well-being lens to create the best conditions for students to thrive,” Blaiklock said.

The CARE² Plan outlines goals for the next five years. The goals include:

  • curriculum and courses that better support student mental health,
  • de-stigmatizing mental illness, and
  • supports such as counseling and emergency funding for students.

Hayley Dunbar is a fourth-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing student at NIC. She’s also NIC’s Student Union Services Director.

“It’s a great step for NIC to focus on creating healthier communities in a systemic way,” she said in NIC’s statement.

Carissa Wilson is the Executive Director of NIC’s Student Union. She also supports the plan.

“The days of the student grind culture are not sustainable—this plan recognizes the whole student and supports their holistic well-being,” she said in NIC’s statement.

“Each successful student is success for our communities at large.”