Community experts support students
Over the next few weeks, several Kingston psychologists and PhD students are volunteering their time and expertise to students who need mental health support and counselling.
“The response we have received is quite overwhelming,” says Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs John Pierce. “The generosity and offers we have from a number of folks both in Kingston and from the alumni and academic communities across the country is exceptional.”
Additional counsellors are available to students through the exam period. Students can call Health, Counselling and Disability Services at 613-533-6000 ext. 78264 for an appointment.
“I want to thank everyone who is offering support to our students at the end of what has been a difficult year,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “We very much appreciate the willingness of members of our community to help us respond to students in need.”
The university’s mental health working group met this week and talked about short term needs, as well as plans to expand and enhance existing programs and services in time for the 2011-2012 academic year.
The working group is part of an integrated health and wellness model that was launched earlier this year to better integrate programs and initiatives related to student well-being.
Working groups focused on mental health, alcohol and campus safety report through a steering committee that sets priorities and guides the enhancement of programs, policies and services, recognizing best practices within the university context, the specific and diverse student population at Queen’s, and a balance between individual rights and responsibilities and the university’s duty of care.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work in these related areas for many years, but we want to build and move forward in a more coordinated way when it comes to both our activities and how we use our resources,” says Dr. Pierce.
All of the committees are composed of staff, faculty and students.
“Ensuring students have the proper support resources is a huge priority for the AMS so to be able to collaborate with multiple partners across the University is an excellent step forward,” says AMS President Safiah Chowdoury. “We hope our collective efforts will enhance both the supports and resources available for students and act as a mechanism to address some underrepresented issues facing the student body and provide a comprehensive approach to all matters relating to health and wellness.”
Some of the next steps for the mental health working group include student outreach and awareness activities, and offering mental health training to TAs as part of expanded education programming.