Mental Health Symposium
Mental Health Symposium

Registration for the Symposium will be open from April 1, 2019 to April 26, 2019. Please see the Accommodations section for deadlines for overnight stay Group Rate bookings. Registration can be completed here.

May 8 and 9, 2019

We are proud to be hosting the third annual Symposium on Mental Health & the Student Experience. Please join us at Seneca College to engage in a one-day event that brings together CLC colleagues and partners in post-secondary education from various campuses to discuss the intersection of mental health and the college experience. For our third Symposium, we are looking to continue on the success of last year’s Symposium, including more discussion on topics of legal issues, educating on student resilience, and innovative approaches. Participants can expect a full schedule with more concurrent opportunities for learning. This year, we are also excited to be offering Ryerson University’s Thriving in Action Train the Trainer as a pre-conference session. More information about this program can be found here: We take pride in working closely with each one of our partner institutions to provide a high level of support to our students, and we hope that you will take the time to discuss this opportunity with your team. If you would like to read more about our event last year, please read our article featured on Academica’s website. We look forward to seeing you at the symposium.

Seneca College Newnham Campus
1750 Finch Avenue East Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2J 2X5

All events will take place at the CITE Building (Building K) on the Seneca Newnham Campus in room K2100. This room is on the second floor in the K wing of the building. Parking is available in Lot 9, and signage will be available to direct you to the CITE Building.Full day parking is $7.00, and parking machines are available in the lot.

Parking Map

Park Inn by Radisson – Toronto Markham

Accommodations will be available at the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel – Toronto Markham, located at 555 Cochrane Dr, Markham, ON L3R 8E3. Double occupancy rooms are available at a rate of $120.00 + tax (with breakfast) per room. To book a room, visit, and scroll down to the reservation form. Fill in your check-in/ check-out dates, number of people and number of rooms, and click the “Lowest Available Rate” drop-down menu. Choose “Promotional code” from the drop-down list, and use the code CLC508. After that, the website will proceed to the standard reservation process. You will be asked to choose the room type, provide First/Last name, contact information, credit card number, etc. After filling all required fields and completing the reservation, the system will e-mail you the confirmation. In case you have any questions, or have any special requirements that cannot be communicated through our website, please feel free to email the Sales Coordinator, Yulia, at Our group rate cut-off date is currently April 13, and is based on hotel availability.

Free Wi-Fi will be available on the day of the eventusing the Seneca Guest network.


Coffee and light refreshments will be provided in the morning and during the lunch break. A catered lunch will be provided. If you have any dietary requests that were not listed at registration, please let us know.

Thriving in Action
May 8th, 2019
9am – 5pm
CITE Building (Building K) Room K2100
$300 registration per person (taxes included)

Wondering how to reach languishing student from across your campus? Curious to learn about innovative, skill-based interventions to support students who identify as First Gen, mature, living with disabilities, seeking counselling services, and/or on academic probation? Want to help students move from surviving to thriving, and do so via sustainable programming? In the winter of 2017, Ryerson Student Affairs’ ThriveRU Initiative launched Thriving in Action, a ten-session program braiding Positive Psychology and progressive learning strategies. Clinical psychologist Dr. Diana Brecher and learning specialist Dr. Deena Kara Shaffer developed Thriving in Action to support students’ resilience through post-secondary’s transitions, expectations, and demands. Thriving in Action offers a scalable, flexible, re-creatable, and group-based model to reach struggling students, prevent distress, bolster self-efficacy, and support persistence. The Thriving in Action stills-based curriculum focuses on mindfulness, learned optimism, gratitude, grit, and self-compassion. These are entwined with such essential learning skills as note-taking and time management, taught within a holistic framework to empower agency, restore focus, and deepen belongingness. Participating students are taught tools to flourish, academically and personally. Join us for a buoyant, experiential one-day training institute. You will walk away with the full curriculum, rich resources, tips for implementation, our compelling research findings, and a deepened connection to your own resilience.

More information about the Thriving in Action program can be found here:

Start Time Sessions - Room K2100 C Concurrent Sessions - Room K2100 B
8:30 am to 9:00 am Registration and Check In
9:00 am to 9:10 am Welcome Remarks
9:10 am to 10:25 am Opening Keynote,
Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe
10:25 am to 10:30 am Break  
10:30 am to 11:20 am The Duty to Accommodate:
Assisting Students at Risk
Nisha Dhanoa - Hicks Morley
Mindfulness & Mental Health:
Foundational Knowledge, Practical
Skills and Program Launch Insights
Cheryl Mitri - Seneca College
11:20 am to 11:30 pm Break  
11:30 am to 12:20 pm Student Perspectives
on Mental Health
Amy Wang –
Ben LeBlanc – Sheridan Student Union
Big White Wall and BounceBack:
Free psychotherapy services for
adults and youth with mild to
moderate depression and anxiety.
Angele D’Alessio - BounceBack
Alana Salsberg - Big White Wall
12:20 pm to 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Confidentiality, Disclosure and
Effective Communication in the
Community College Context
Robert Solomon – UWO
Encountering Psychopathology:
Recognizing and supporting
someone in crisis
Tony Greco - Registered Psychotherapist
3:00 pm to 3:20 pm Closing Remarks

The Duty to Accommodate: Assisting Students at Risk
Nisha Dhanoa – Hicks Morley

Coming soon…

Mindfulness & Mental Health: Foundational Knowledge,
Practical Skills and Program Launch Insights
Cheryl Mitri – Counsellor, Seneca College

This session will provide participants with an introduction to mindfulness and an opportunity to practice a few foundational skills. In addition, Cheryl will share her experiences with launching a mindfulness pilot for students at Seneca College. The session will open with a mindfulness exercise, followed by a brief discussion highlighting the benefits of mindfulness for mental health.   Next, we will pause creating space to collectively engage in a breathing meditation. From there, Cheryl will share her insights about building a mindfulness pilot program to aid in stress reduction for students at Seneca College. Key topics covered include: the journey to date, student feedback and action steps moving forward. The session will conclude with a few take-aways and a closing meditation.

Student Panel: Student perspectives on mental health
Amy Wang –
Ben LeBlanc – Sheridan Student Union

This session will highlight the voices and opinions of our students and discuss how institutions and young people can work together to improve youth mental health. We’ll touch upon barriers youth have faced which include: poor knowledge of mental health services, pervasive mental health stigma and accompanying shame, and poor access to mental health services. Moreover, this session will discuss various avenues for improving mental health on campus.

BounceBack & Big White Wall
Angele D’Alessio – BounceBack
Alana Salsberg – Big White Wall

BounceBack is a free skill-building program is designed to help youth 15+ and adults manage symptoms of mild to moderate depression and anxiety. Participants will learn skills to help manage worry and anxiety, combat unhelpful thinking, and become more active and assertive. There’s no waiting period, and the program is free to people living in Ontario who have a valid health card number. Learn how this service offered by the Canadian Mental Health Association can help students on your campus today. Big White Wall is an online mental health and wellbeing service offering self-help programs, creative outlets and a community that cares. When someone is dealing with everyday stressors or major life events, we’ll help them get through it. Big White Wall offers Ontario residents the choice and flexibility to seek support early, without stigma and at a time convenient to them. In 2018, Ontario Telemedicine Network and Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care commissioned Big White Wall to provide digital mental health support, in line with the recommendations made in ‘Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada’. The partnership represents one of the biggest single deployments of mental health services online in the world.

Confidentiality, Disclosure and Effective Communication in the Community College Context Robert Solomon – University of Western Ontario

The workshop begins with a brief discussion of the increasingly challenging legal environment facing all counsellors and other health professionals, as well as the Canadian courts’ attitudes and expectations. In the next section, we examine the legal meaning of the term “confidentiality.” Contrary to what many people understand, the obligation is not an absolute guarantee of silence. We will discuss when obligations of confidentiality arise, the legal consequences that result from their breach, and the importance of limiting one’s confidentiality obligations at the outset of the relationship. This will be followed by a discussion of the legal concept of privilege (i.e. the circumstances in which confidential client information need not be disclosed even in the face of a search warrant or subpoena). We will then review the general principles governing the disclosure of client information, including disclosure as required by law and disclosure based on a client’s implied and express consent. The common law, equity, statutes, and ethical codes all permit the collection, use and disclosure of confidential information with the client’s express consent. Consequently, many potential legal problems can be avoided by developing a comprehensive set of policies and obtaining the client’s express consent to them at the outset of the relationship. We will then examine the legal principles governing consent to integrated care and information sharing both within a community college or other institution, and among different institutions. It will be emphasized that there are no legal obstacles to developing an integrated model of counselling, support and information sharing within a community college.

Encountering psychopathology: Recognizing and supporting someone in crisis Tony Greco – Registered Psychotherapist

This session will an introduction into mental health struggles that we may encounter when supporting students on our campuses. This workshop will explore mental health concerns like bipolar and borderline personality disorder. It will also help delegates recognize students with mental health challenges and provide insights in how to support someone in crisis.

Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe, Expert on Resiliency and Workplace Wellness Biography Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe is a multi-award-winning psychology Instructor who specializes in resiliency, navigating stress and change, and personal wellness in the workplace. Described as transformational, engaging, and thought-provoking, Robyne’s keynotes provide practical strategies grounded in global research and case studies that help foster resiliency within ourselves and others. As the Senior Educational Developer for the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Trent University, Robyne focuses on providing professional development for the teaching community and cultivating student engagement. She is committed to finding innovative solutions for creating positive learning relationships and environments for both students and teachers. Robyne has also been a psychology instructor at Trent for more than 10 years. Robyne’s work is inspired by her interest in health and wellness and includes topics such a resiliency, optimal challenge, resourcefulness, goal setting, and self-identity

Nisha Dhanoa – Lawyer, Hicks Morley

Student Disability – The Human Rights Code and the Duty to Accommodate Nisha Dhanoa is a litigation associate in Hicks Morley’s Toronto office. She litigates matters both before the courts and tribunals and provides advice to employers and management in both the private and public sectors on labour, employment and human rights issues.


Cheryl Mitri – Counsellor, Seneca College
Mindfulness& Mental Health: Foundational Knowledge, Practical Skills and Program Launch Insights

Cheryl Mitri is a Counsellor at Seneca College’s Counselling and Accessibility Services department. She provides personal and accessibility counselling to students living with disabilities, using a variety of therapeutic modalities.  Cheryl’s training in therapeutic yoga and mindfulness techniques compliments her master’s degree in social work.  At Seneca, Cheryl developed, launched and currently facilitates mindfulness programs for students to aid in stress reduction, enhance well-being and support academic success.  Cheryl’s passion lies heavily on integrating mindfulness techniques not only in her personal life but also in her professional work to help empower students to live fully and joyfully in the present moment.

Ben LeBlanc – President, Sheridan Student Union, Sheridan College
Amy Wang –
Student Panel
Student perspectives on mental health
Amy Wang

Amy is a passionate mental health advocate working with This June, she’ll be graduating from UofT Scarborough with an Honours Bachelor of Science in mental health. During her time at UTSC, Amy founded and led the UTSC chapter. She then became a Jack Talks Speaker to deliver mental health talks to youth in her community. She recently completed a summer internship in fundraising at and was also selected to be a network representative. Amy is passionate about making a positive impact on her community and hopes to continue with her advocacy in future opportunities.

Ben LeBlanc

Coming soon…

Angele D’Alessio – BounceBack
Alana Salsberg – Big White Wall
BounceBack & Big White Wall

Angele D’Alessio is currently working as the Regional Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator with the Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario Division. She has a wide knowledge base of the mental health sector including thirteen years’ experience as a mental health educator in both community and school-based programs. Angele has recently received certification in the “Train the Trainer” program at St. Lawrence College formerly known as “Teacher of Adults” and is now a certified trainer for “Mental Health First Aid” through the Mental Health Commission of Canada as well as a certified trainer for “safeTALK” a suicide prevention program of Living Works.

Alana Salsberg is the Program Engagement Director for Big White Wall Canada, a 24/7 online mental health service contracted by the Ontario Ministry of Health and OTN as part of the Canadian government’s push for technological innovation in democratizing access to healthcare resources.
Alana also provides strategic consultation services to other clients, including Canadian Mental Health Association and various digital agencies around Toronto. As an impassioned mental health advocate, Alana sits on the Family Advisory Committee for the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario initiative and on the Family Advisory Committee for Frayme, an international network that connects mental health, health and social services working with youth and young adults to accelerate the integration and implementation of youth care in Canada and around the world.

Robert Solomon – University of Western Ontario

Confidentiality, Disclosure and Effective Communication in the Community College Context   Robert Solomon is currently on the Faculty of Law at Western University, where he holds the rank of Distinguished University Professor. He is also the National Director of Legal Policy for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada. He has been involved in research and teaching on health care, civil liability, and criminal law for over 45 years. He has served as a consultant to Health and Welfare Canada, the Law Reform Commission of Canada, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, and the Commonwealth of Australia Health Department. He assisted the Ontario Addiction Research Foundation in developing a provincial substance abuse program for schools, and has advised numerous health, counselling and care agencies. Professor Solomon has travelled throughout Canada and Australia presenting legal programs in his fields of expertise. One of his major areas of concern has been the increasingly challenging legal environment facing educators, social workers, counsellors, addictions staff, and youth workers. He is widely published in his fields of expertise and is the lead author of A Legal Guide for Social Workers,3rd ed.,whichthe Ontario Association for Social Workers published in 2014.

Tony Greco – Registered Psychotherapist

Encountering psychopathology: Recognizing and supporting someone in crisis   Tony is an RP (registered psychotherapist) and has been in private practice for over twenty years. He provides individual, couples and group psychotherapy and is a faculty at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto (psychotherapy training institute). He has been training psychotherapists for twelve years and teaches courses in comparative psychotherapies and contemporary issues in psychotherapy