‘This program saved my life’: implementation of a mental health program

The increase in mental health concerns among college-aged youth is well documented. The higher prevalence of mental health concerns among international students, however, has not been so thoroughly examined. International students often resist seeking help for myriad reasons (perceived personal stigma, cultural and/or linguistic barriers) and by doing so place themselves and their institution at greater risk of significant harm.

Partnering with the student medical insurance company, FIC (Fraser International College) piloted a mental health support program called the International Student Support Program (ISSP).  The ISSP has a focus on creating awareness, providing 24/7 access to culturally and linguistically relevant services and uses innovative digital channels to reach international students.

In this recording, Sharla Reid reviews the issues faced by international students and offers best practices in gaining acceptance and integration across key campus-wide stakeholders. She shares how the ISSP was implemented and the striking results of the pilot, which has created significantly more engagement and provided greater support mechanisms for this chronically at-risk population.

As one student put it: ‘This program saved my life‘.

For more information, please contact Sharla Reid at Sharla.Reid@fraseric.ca or connect with her on Yammer.


sharla-reidSharla Reid is the Academic Director at Fraser International College.  She is an emerging leader in international student affairs and recent recipient of the BCCIE Rising Star in International Education Award.  In her role, she oversees academic and welfare advising as well as instructional staff. She is passionate about student success and staff engagement.