Impact on Student Well-being

The SFU Health Promotion team leads the Healthy Campus Community initiative, which aligns with Canada’s National Standard for Mental Health and Well-being for Post-Secondary Students and the World Health Organization’s Health Promoting University Framework. Student well-being is experienced and created in settings across the institution. Working collaboratively to advance student well-being at SFU is both strategic and efficient in terms of impact on students. View the latest reports here and catch up on the historical accomplishments of SFU's award-winning Health Promotion team.

Key highlights of Impact (2020-2022)

Here are a few key highlights of the impact of taking a health promoting, settings-based approach to campus well-being on the following key priority areas.

1. Create Healthy Settings for Student Well-being

Since 2011, SFU Health Promotion has been working with partners across SFU to create settings that enhance student mental health, well-being and health equity.  

Key Impacts on Students and Learning Environments:

In partnership with the Centre for Educational Excellence we have built a network of over 300 faculty champions who are engaging in well-being in learning environments programming to positively impacting student well-being. 

  • Approximately 29% of faculty, instructors, and instructional staff at SFU are involved in Well-being in Learning Environments
  • Student respondents in classes taught by faculty in the Tools for Well-being in the Classroom program reported higher mental health at the end of term (Fall 2021)  as compared to data collected at SFU during the same period by the Student e-Mental Health Project (Mental Health Systems and Services Lab at UBC)
  • In comparison to UGSS data during the same semester, students in courses taught by faculty in the Tools for Well-being in the Classroom program reported improved social connection, flexibility, and a sense of care from instructors.
  • 90.3% of students reported they experienced welcoming, respectful and inclusive learning environments through this initiative. 
  • 86% of students in this initiative reported they felt their instructor cared about their well-being as opposed to 70% on the UGSS in 2020.
  • Trends over time in the UGSS data show that students are increasingly reporting positive well-being in learning environments across SFU. 
  • It is estimated that approximately 7000 students are reached annually by Well-being in Learning Environments programming. 

Read about more faculty and student testimonials and learn more about well-being in learning environments

Partnership Development for Well-being in Learning Environments:

In partnership with the Transforming Inquiry into Learning & Teaching team, the SFU Health Promotion team co-led the inaugural Well-being in Learning Environments Seminar Series and Grants program, a new Teaching and Learning Development Grant, showing the impact of instructors embedding conditions of well-being into learning environments on student learning and experience. 

As a result, from early research outcomes, Tools for Well-being in the Classroom was launched, in partnership with TILT and with support from a faculty advisory committee. The program offers well-being check-ins and other tools for faculty to embed well-being within academic learning environments. Over 350 faculty and teaching staff have attended 19 events/sessions and/or joined the network and made use of resources related to well-being in learning environments.  

“The relaxation and de-stressing exercises were great. And just knowing that the instructor really understands about these issues was great- this is the most supported I have ever felt in a classroom.”

- Student

“This initiative has proved to be highly rewarding for me and my students. We are now more aware of how important well-being should be in higher education. All forms of instruction should prioritize that.”

- Elisabeta Aida Osian, Centre for Digital Media 

Key growth over the years

2022 | 250 Instructors | 218% Increase 

2019 | 160 Instructors | 320% Increase

2014 | 50 Instructors | 500% Increase

2012 | 10 Instructors

Key Impacts on Policies and Spaces:

Since 2015, two evidence informed and open access resources developed by SFU Health Promotion have been used to inform  policies and physical spaces that enhance student well-being at SFU. Examples of spaces across SFU’s three campuses that have been developed in collaboration with these resources include:

  • The Student Union Building (SUB)
  • Public lounges in the Academic Quadrangle, Applied Sciences Building, Blusson Hall, Maggie Benston Centre, Saywell Hall Atrium, Shrum K. building and South Science Building
  • The Learning Hub (EDB 8620) 
  • Faculty of Health Sciences Student Lounge
  • Dining Hall and Residence and Housing Expansion
  • Lounge spaces and the Wellness Studio at SFU Vancouver
  • SFU Burnaby 2065 Campus Master Plan

Partnerships with academic units like Applied Sciences have led to improvements in relation to the following strategic objectives:

  • Reducing undue stress through policy 
  • Fostering a supportive and inclusive environment
  • Increasing student mental health awareness 
  • Increasing community capacity for responding to mental health and well-being
  • Expanding accessible mental health services 

Health equity is a crucial part of student well-being and our team values intentional and relational practices to support equity-deserving students’ experiences on campus. Examples of work we are doing to enact and prioritize our principles related to equity and justice include:  

  • The recent development of a well-being strategy for Black students at SFU in collaboration with partners on campus, in support of the anticipated Black Students’ Centre.  
  • A Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) dialogue sessions on student mental health, which resulted in recommendations that informed SFU’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Report.

Learn more about how policy connects with well-being, and other student initiatives that SHAC advocates for.

“Spaces like these encourage me to spend more time at school and socialize here.”

– Student

“It’s brighter, cleaner and makes me feel happier and better able to study effectively.”

- Student 


We work collectively to empower students and partners through comprehensive, accessible and evidence-based mental health and well-being education that prioritizes safety, health equity and cultural competence.

Key impacts of educational programing and community building:

Approximately 3000 graduate and undergraduate students have been reached annually through presentationstraining programs and outreach events.

“It’s great that you are doing this. We [SFU] have a lot of resources and it’s great that you’re communicating it out into the community, bringing awareness to the many services offered”

- Student, outreach participant

Over 300 students are enrolled in the Bouncing Forward Online Resilience Training 

  • 93% of students who completed the training would recommend it to a friend

“This course makes me understand about life and motivates me to achieve my goals”

- Bouncing Forward participant

“It is something I'm told often, but I'm glad that the modules frequently mind me that it is perfectly acceptable to seek help from others and that other people is the key to being a well-rounded person.”

- Bouncing Forward participant

Over 150 graduate students are enrolled in the online training related to graduate student well-being.

  • 89% of students who completed the Bouncing Forward Resilience Training for Graduate Students would recommend it to a friend.

  • 94% of students who completed the Thriving in your Role as a TA Training said they plan to “apply one or more strategies from the Well-Being in Learning Environments in my tutorial, class, course, or lab.

“Not only was this course jam packed with information but I loved being able to work at my own pace and all the other resources presented (Ted Talks, Personality Quizzes, etc). All the material complements each other and I learned more about myself as a person through each module.”

- Participant

"This training is highly essential for first time appointed TA's, and current TA as well. The course brings upon quite relevant issues that students come across in courses (both offline/online), and how TA's can provide the maximum support and accessibility of help to students, in the middle of an ongoing semester."

- Participant

In the 2021-2022 academic year, approximately 50 presentations were facilitated for graduate and undergraduate students on well-being.

“I enjoyed the resilience class because it gave examples on how to ‘come back’ from the failure that we experienced - I also enjoyed it because ‘resiliency’ does not just apply to school, it applies to many other facets of life [...] It gave me a greater insight that no matter your failures you always have an opportunity to bounce back from it and it is up to you to make sure that you do.”

- Workshop participant

In October 2022, SFU Health Promotion commemorated World Mental Health Week through weeklong events hosted across SFU Burnaby and Surrey campuses in partnership with Student Engagement and Retention, Women’s Centre, Indigenous Students Centre, Counselling Services, SFU Recreation and the SFU Health Peers. This inaugural event invited students to explore their well-being as it related to topics of mental, physical, and sexual health, and substance use and harm reduction.

“Overall, had really good attendance and traffic!! We had really good conversations with students about the topic.”

- SER staff member

Each year 15-20 Health Peers are trained to provide approximately 50 outreach events per year and reach students through in person and online programming.  

“I've seen a lot of students engage and have positive interactions with the Health Peers, and students often come away from their events with new tools to promote their overall health and looking at topics in a new way.”

- Caldon Saunders, SFU Co-op Student