Office of the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs

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Student Wellness Services (formerly HCDS) Review: Fall 2014

Read the Report and Recommendations

In its November 2012 report, the Queen's Principal’s Commission on Mental Health makes several recommendations about the operations of Queen's Student Wellness Services (formerly Queen's Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS)) and includes a recommendation for a review to “allow for an in-depth consideration of the present state and future prospects of the unit, its strategic plan, how it is meeting standard expectations of performance, its utilization of best practices, its resources (human, financial, physical) and the identification of particular successes and challenges.” (See the Commission's Reportpgs. 46-49).

The Office of the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs established this review to affirm and/or identify opportunities to enhance the provision of high quality and effective health, wellness and accessibility services for students by Student Wellness Services (formerly HCDS), recognizing that Student Wellness Services (formerly HCDS) operates within a campus-wide system of services offered by Faculties and Schools, as well as student government-run programs and supports. 

Debbie Bruckner, Director, SU Wellness Centre, University of Calgary, and David McMurray, Vice-President, Student Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University conducted this review over two days on campus, October 28 and October 29, 2014. 

The majority of their time was spent in meetings with staff, students and key stakeholders to explore opinions related to Student Wellness Services (formerly HCDS) services, supports, programs, structure, resources and best practices. The campus community was invited to two open meetings, and comments were also welcomed through a short online questionnaire. Submissions could be made anonymously.

In keeping with the Commission's recommendations related to this review, the review may be guided by, but not necessarily restricted to, the following areas, framed as possible discussion questions for the two days of meetings:

1. Is the Student Wellness Services (formerly HCDS) organizational structure and operational model(s) - overall and within units - consistent with best practices in the post-secondary education sector to maximize service efficiency and effectiveness?

What changes/enhancements can be suggested to strengthen the delivery of programs and services to students within the current fiscal environment?

2. Is resourcing and funding – overall and within units - consistent with best practices in the post-secondary education sector to maximize service efficiency and effectiveness?

What changes/enhancements can be suggested to strengthen the delivery of programs and services to students within the current fiscal environment?

3. What further collaborations with academic departments and units, campus units and community experts and facilities may support the operation of Student Wellness Services (formerly HCDS)?

Read the Report and Recommendations

About Student Wellness Services (formerly HCDS)

Student Wellness Services (formerly HCDS)  is the university’s central health care and related service provider comprising four streams of service:

  • Health Promotion;
  • Student Health Services;
  • Counselling Services;
  • Queen's Student Accessibility Services (formerly Disability Services Office).

Working across the interconnected domains of physical, mental and social health, Health Promotion (HP) contributes to policy development and uses a diverse range of campus-wide programs and activities to encourage increased individual and community control over factors that affect health.

Student Health Services (SHS) offers students appointments to see family physicians, psychiatrists, a gynecologist, general practitioner psychotherapists and nurses, including a mental health nurse. Students can also receive vaccines, information, and medications as appropriate for international travel. There are two evening clinics per week that require appointments, and an Urgent Care walk-in medical clinic operates weekdays. All patients with urgent problems are seen and SHS responds to contacts from students, faculty members, staff, family members or friends, indicating the need for urgent attention for a student.

Used by approximately 10 per cent of the student population annually, Counselling Services (CS) provides one-on-one crisis counselling and short-term counselling interventions, group programs focused on student skill-development and wellness and education/training that is available to faculty members, staff and students.  Counsellors work in a number of locations across campus;  some work at Student Wellness Services (formerly HCDS) in the LaSalle Building, and others (outreach counsellors) are based in faculty and university buildings, including the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC). These outreach counsellors work with specific student populations, including students in residences, those in the Faculty of Education and on west campus, graduate students, students in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, students in Queen’s School of Business's commerce program and students in the School of Medicine.

The university is committed to providing a fully accessible learning environment for students with disabilities, meeting its responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code) and promoting accessibility as a cornerstone of all of our academic activities. The Queen's Student Accessibility Services (formerly Disability Services Office (DSO))works with students with documented disabilities to provide them with individualized academic accommodations, which are based on the functional limitations associated with their disabilities.  The work of the Queen's Student Accessibility Services (formerly DSO) is guided by the Code and the need to provide equitable and professional academic accommodations to the growing number of students who are seeking services.

Background documents