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Student Wellness Services promotes group learning

Wellness Groups offer a collaborative approach to supporting mental health and well-being.

With the Winter Term underway, Student Wellness Services (SWS) is offering a series of Wellness Groups to help students develop emotional and interpersonal skills. The sessions and weekly programs are aimed at helping students combat stress and other wellness concerns in a collaborative and supportive environment.

“We meet in groups because we need one another to help solve problems we can’t solve on our own,” says Jo-ann Ferreira, one of the Wellness Group facilitators. “It’s important to understand that we are not alone and to acknowledge and support each other’s trials and successes.”

Faculty and staff members are encouraged to talk to students about this self-care option.

The groups offered this term include ‘Mindfulness for A Better Student Life’, ‘Managing Stress and Anxiety in Your First Year’, a group that focuses on chronic pain, a series on sleep, another on learning how to manage powerful emotions, and an art therapy group presented in collaboration with the Agnes Etherington Arts Centre.

The wellness groups are run by registered mental health professionals, and although they are designed to be interactive, attendees don’t have to actively participate if they don’t want to – they can just listen and learn.

“The aim of the wellness groups is to provide students with the space and time to work on themselves and their emotional well-being,” says Ms. Ferreira. “University is a place to learn and grow, and this is equally important for both academic and personal development.”

Wellness groups can provide a helpful alternative to one-on-one sessions, with a model that focuses on skill building and vicarious learning. The groups feature a set curriculum each week, which allows students to practice new skills between sessions and build upon their prior learning. With a maximum of 12 people, students are guaranteed a comfortable environment where their voices can be heard and supported.

“The wellness groups are almost like taking a course, but a course that it very supportive and very nurturing,” says Dr. Rina Gupta, Director of Counselling Services. “There are no pressures, no tests, no exams; it’s just an opportunity to learn about ways to be healthier and to have more positive experiences as a student at Queen’s.”

Students can register for groups online. For a full list of Wellness Groups and the days and times they are offered, visit the Student Wellness Services website.

Students can also help inform health and wellness programs and services at Queen’s by completing the National Collegiate Health Assessment survey, which will provide the university with a snapshot of health and wellness across a wide range of areas, including physical, mental and sexual health, substance use, nutrition, eating, sleep, stress, body image, and sense of belonging and well-being. The survey is now open until February 15 and students who complete the online questionnaire, accessed through their Queen’s email, will receive $6 in flex dollars which can be used at any hospitality services outlet on campus.

This term, students, faculty and staff can participate in the Campus Wellness Project, that aims to encourage and support a culture of well-being for Queen’s. Campus-wide consultations are now underway, and there are many ways to provide your input. Learn more.