We've Launched Canada's Largest Student Assistance Program!

We’ve launched an innovative new Student Assistance Program (SAP) that offers mental health and wellness care to post-secondary students across Canada!

Shift Collab is pleased to announce that it has launched Real Campus, a Student Assistance Program (SAP) for the modern post-secondary student. The program has been live since September 1, 2018.

Like many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (known as EAPs), colleges and universities often provide their students with similar access to therapists, lifestyle coaching, and broader wellness support through an SAP.

While well-intentioned, the reality is that very few students ever actually access these services. Even though most counselling departments on campuses nation-wide have waitlists, and even though mental health challenges for students are rising dramatically, these SAP programs, meant to fill service gaps, have sadly been mostly irrelevant.

Why? Low utility and low engagement happens for three reasons:

  1. Services typically aren’t explained to students in a simple, relatable, and actionable way

  2. Programs are marketed poorly— they use a dated approach to talking about mental healthcare

  3. There are major barriers to accessing services, including excessive wait times, limited appointments, and minimal care management

We set out to do something different.

When we sat down to create Real Campus alongside our partners We Speak Student (Canada’s largest student benefits provider) and Maple (Canada’s top virtual healthcare platform), we decided to focus on four key pillars:

1. Make care both collaborative and centralized. We have developed a backend system that, for each student, includes a unique health record hosted on Maple. This allows a variety of therapists, speciality counsellors, and physicians to provide each student with support simultaneously, and enables cross-referrals. Moreover, all care is personalized by our full-time Care Coordination team.

2. Champion mobile-first virtual care. Like students, we think digital first. That’s why we’ve partnered with Maple to use their virtual healthcare platform to provide access to therapists and counsellors, including on-demand therapy sessions with less than a 10-minute wait time, from 8am to 8pm EST, everyday. That means no more wait-times and no more lack of access.

3. Create great preventative content. We create relatable articles and videos every month tackling student wellness, and we work with relevant on-campus offices to distribute them. We are even launching a 45-minute basic wellness course for students anywhere, Re:Thinking Self Care, later this month. All of our content is on-point tonally, made to meet student needs.

4. Build a campus movement. We will be visiting 10 major campuses this fall touring a full-day mental health festival. The Real Campus Tour (or Re:Tour, for short) will combine an interactive mental health awareness exhibit, a TED-style event featuring members of the campus community, and other events designed to de-stigmatize mental health struggles and provide pathways to support. We’ll visit each campus again to deliver two classes, and we’ll be leading a volunteer group of campus mental health advocates to empower them with tools to organize their own events and meet-ups throughout the year.

There has never been a program like this in the student wellness space. We are thrilled by the early response from students, counsellors and staff alike on campuses where the program is live.

Best of all, this is just the beginning.



Want to learn more about our SAP? Check out the Real Campus website. Are you interested in something like this for your campus, organization or company? Let’s talk.