CICMH 2021 Virtual Conference: Call for Abstracts

The Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health’s (CICMH) Annual Conference is the meeting place for a wide range of stakeholders in post-secondary mental health across Ontario and Canada. Our annual event represents what the CICMH is at its core: a hub of connection and unique intersections of Ontario university and college staff, students, community organizations and campus champions who strive to create innovative campus mental health solutions. It will be held virtually on November 3, 2021. This event attracts over 400 participants, 20 exhibitors, and leaders in mental health from across the country. It offers a multitude of workshops featuring the best, most promising, and emerging practices in the sector.

Main Theme: Crafting Connections in a Landscape of Uncertainty

As our world continues to respond to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, our campus communities are continually adapting and transforming to stay connected. These are unprecedented times that have emphasized the nuanced mental health needs of our diverse populations. Despite these challenges, the continual creativity and dedication of our campus communities demonstrate that times of uncertainty can lead to the most innovative solutions to complex issues. This year’s theme, “Crafting Connections in a Landscape of Uncertainty,” challenges all of us to reflect on and potentially redefine our relationship with our current environment. More specifically, this theme encourages us to embrace feelings of uncertainty through connection, openness and shared accountability. Through this lens, we will be exploring topics that embrace a whole campus approach - bringing together student service professionals, teaching staff, students, campus mental health champions, and community mental health organizations.

To facilitate this discussion, we will be exploring the five following themes:
1. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
2. Navigating the Virtual World
3. Indigenous Student Engagement and Wellness
4. Student Engagement
5. Substance Use & Harm Reduction
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
There is a growing movement for institutional leadership and campus frameworks to implement equity, diversity and inclusivity-related policy to ensure equitable access to services and programming on campus. Province-wide, there has been a focus on understanding the unique needs of students based on the various intersections of their identity such as culture, race, religion, sexual orientation, and physical or mental health disability, which have resulted in experiences of marginalization. Presentations in this stream will address equity-driven programming, the social determinants of health and student-driven programming.

Navigating the Virtual World
Presentations in this stream will focus on successes, challenges and lessons learned from the rapid shift of campus mental health services to the virtual world. As we continue to craft more proactive virtual environments as part of the campus experience, the following areas have come into focus: efficiently navigating the virtual campus experience (both for students, faculty and staff) ; promoting health and wellness virtually; special considerations for our international student population; creating and engaging students in a safe virtual classroom.

Indigenous Student Engagement and Wellness
Presentations in this stream will centre around Indigenous world views grounded in holistic understandings and the value of interrelatedness as a model for wellness and engagement of Indigenous student populations. Areas of focus may include: embracing Indigenous worldviews in campus and learning environments; Indigenous pedagogy and educational interconnections;

Student Engagement
Facilitating connection and belonging among students is vital to counter the increasing experiences of isolation and loneliness in the virtual world. The recent shift away from being physically on campus has highlighted a need to devise innovative strategies to allow students to engage with their institution and their peers in a meaningful way. Presentations in this stream will centre around innovative initiatives that: create meaningful programming outside of the classroom environment for students; utilize peer-to-peer models to create meaningful relationships among students; emphasize communal spaces for students to address mental health and wellness topics.

Substance Use & Harm Reduction
There has been an increase in substance-related harms throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Presentations in this stream will focus on the use and misuse of drugs, alcohol and other substances by our student populations. Example topics might include: trends and patterns in student substance use during the pandemic, harm reduction programming on campus and strategies for reducing substance-related harms.

  • Submissions should provide a brief explanation of the presentation in 150 words or less.
  • Abstracts will be accepted until May 10, 2021.
  • Presenters will be notified if their abstracts have been accepted by the end of May.
  • Honararia, accommodation and travel reimbursement are not available for presenters.  A discounted registration rate for the conference will be available to accepted presenters.

 Conference sessions will be offered in a variety of formats:

All formats will be expected to provide interactive elements to ensure audience engagement. Note: polling and breakout rooms are an option with our conference platform.

1. Panel discussions

A panel session will involve a formal discussion between multiple presenters on relevant ideas and topics. Format can include short presentation style or guided QA by a facilitator. Cross institutional/organizational panels are encouraged.

2. A Roundtable presentation

A roundtable presentation should include a short (5-10) minute presentation by the presenter to introduce the topic, followed by discussion and feedback from the attendees. Roundtable presenters should bring targeted questions to pose to attendees at the table (breakout room) and allocate time to summarize and conclude at the end of the session. A key focus is creating interaction between attendees themselves.

3. A Workshop presentation

A workshop presentation provides a platform for presenters to share expertise, and for participants to gain new knowledge and/or a new skill. The presentation will take an interactive approach that will address new programming and completed research, while giving participants a 'hands-on' experience of the subject.

4. Virtual Poster Presentations

Display space for Virtual Poster Presentations will also be offered. Please prepare your poster as a PDF document ( 11 by 17, 96 dpi). You are welcome to create additional documentation as handouts.

About You

Please provide presenter names as you would like them to appear in the conference program:

Presenter Name(s):

Is there an alternate contact person (example: an assistant)?


Preferred Presentation

Please note: Based on the number of presentations we receive, we may have to combine presentations. If your abstract is not accepted, you may have an opportunity to present a poster presentation.

Your preferred presentation duration is:

Conference Streams

Please choose the stream that your that relates to your submission

Your Submission

The presenter may submit multiple abstracts for the conference. One submission for each presentation. If your abstract is accepted, we will reach out for your full abstract and your AV/Tech needs.

Title of your Presentation: (10 words or less) (Required)

Description of your presentation: (150 words or less) Required

Please provide 1-3 learning outcomes for your workshop/presentation/poster

How does your submission relate to your selected stream?

It is important for all sessions to be interactive and encourage participation among attendees. Please explain how your session will be interactive:

Who is your intended audience? (Check all that apply)
(Select all that apply)
Front-line staff (e.g. counsellors, clinicians, case managers, advisors)
Student leaders
Peer mentors
Administration (e.g. vice-president of student services, counseling centre directors, program managers)
Health and wellness staff (e.g.: health promotion specialist, accommodations specialists, athletics and recreation staff)
Community Mental health staff

Please provide a short biography of each presenter (50-60 words or less) with the first presenter bio below and then using the presenter options below for additional presenters.

Presenter #2

Presenter #3

Presenter #4


All submissions will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the conference theme
  • Clarity and coherence of submission
  • Relevance and utility to participants
  • Evidence that the submission will encourage interaction with conference participants
  • It is encouraged that presenters include a lived experience component or perspective where relevant


  • Presenters must register for the conference. Honoraria and travel reimbursement are not available.
  • Presenters will be asked to submit an electronic version of their presentation two weeks prior to the conference.
  • Recordings of the presentations will be made available to conference delegates following the conference
  • Presenters are encouraged to provide responsible for providing written material to conference participants
  • Presenters will be provided with a designated time to present by the conference committee.
  • Accepted presenters will be provided with essential training on the use of the conference platform. This will involve a live training session prior to the conference, that will take approximately 1-hour.