The Inquiring Mind

Reducing stigma and increasing resiliency in post-secondary students.

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What is The Inquiring Mind (TIM)?

TIM is an education-based program designed to address and promote mental health and reduce the stigma of mental illness in an educational / student setting.

One of the Opening Minds initiative programs, TIM was adapted from existing evidence-based program The Working Mind from the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

The program pilot was formally launched at the University of Calgary in January 2016 and in January 2017 at Mount Royal University. In the Fall of 2017, the pilot program has expanded to include the University of Lethbridge, MacEwan University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Dalhousie University, the Nova Scotia Community College and Dalhousie Medical School.

Course Structure:

The Inquiring Mind was created with the input of students as well as faculty and staff, from the University of Calgary, with mental health-related expertise. It is delivered in a 3.5-hour workshop format and covers three main components: stigma reduction, resiliency skills, and the Mental Health Continuum Model.

The Mental Health Continuum Model reconceptualizes how one thinks and talks about mental health by categorizing signs and indicators of good to poor mental health under a four-colour continuum: green (healthy), yellow (reacting), orange (injured), and red (ill).

Continuum headers

Beyond these main components, the program also teaches about creating a supportive campus and how to support others who may be experiencing poor mental health. The program is designed to be interactive with activities and group discussions, as well as a set of scenarios for participants to work through. TIM takes these very good basic skills and contextualizes them in a way that is relevant to students. The curriculum includes custom videos featuring students, providing examples to which they can relate (e.g. mid-term stress, relationship challenges, being away from home/family supports).

There is also a train-the-trainer (TTT) course for TIM, which equips people with the tools and skills to present this course in their organization. The train-the-trainer course includes:

  • Background information on mental health
  • Extensive information on the key concepts relating to the student environment
  • Structured presentation practice time
  • Evaluation of presentation skills by master trainers

Fall 2017 Pilot

The research project relating to the pilot launch of TIM (Fall 2017) will evaluate the effectiveness and impact of The Inquiring Mind, including measuring mental illness stigma, resiliency skills and comfort in supporting others with mental illnesses.

The results of the evaluation will inform possible revisions of the program after which it will be made available to all Canadian universities and colleges. There are plans to develop versions of The Inquiring Mind for graduate and international students. The development of an adaptation for high school students is anticipated to begin in 2018.


To learn more about The Inquiring Mind, please email: