Supporting wellness through group programming

Queen’s Student Wellness Services (SWS), a unit within Student Affairs, is helping students combat stress and other mental health concerns by offering a range of collaborative Wellness Groups.

These sessions and weekly programs give students the opportunity to develop new skills and self-care strategies in a safe and supportive environment.

This term, SWS will be facilitating a new group called Sharing Solutions & Peer Support for Managing Chronic Pain. Developed based on student feedback, this six-week program is for individuals dealing with chronic pain who want to come together and share solutions and strategies that help them thrive as university students.

Two of the occupational therapists at SWS, Tess Grant, and Katie Bala, will be running the group and providing helpful guidance and resources. While there will be some direction, the topics for each week will be decided by the participants to ensure that students have the opportunity to discuss what is most important to them.

Since the role was introduced at SWS in 2017, occupational therapists have been working with students with injuries, illness, disabilities, and extenuating circumstances who are experiencing challenges fully participating in life on campus.

In addition to helping students participate in activities that are meaningful to them, they can provide short-term academic accommodations and support students through the process of registering with Queen’s Student Accessibility Services.

With this new program, SWS hopes to expand upon the role of occupational therapy and help students find support on and off campus.

“Having a supportive network can be helpful in the recovery journey for individuals that experience a chronic health condition,” says Grant. “We hope that students will leave with solutions that they can use in their life as a university student, and also with a network of peers who they can connect with moving forward in their university career.”

Other wellness groups offered this term include ‘Group Psychotherapy’, ‘Develop Atomic Habits for Success’, a group that focuses on mindfulness and stress reduction, a series on sleeping better, and another on managing powerful emotions.

The wellness groups are facilitated by registered mental health professionals and follow a set curriculum, focusing on new skills and topics each week.

While the groups are designed to be interactive, students do not need to actively participate and are welcome to just listen and learn.

To see a full list of Wellness Groups and to register, visit the Student Wellness Services website.

To book an appointment with an occupational therapist, call 613-533-2506 or come in to Student Wellness Services in Mitchell Hall (69 Union St, ground floor) and speak to a receptionist.

Note: This article originally appeared in the Queen's Gazette.