School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Staying Well

Staying Well

Finding mental space to look after yourself in grad school can come at the end of a long list, somewhere after marking, term work, exams, and finishing a dissertation. Move staying well up your list of priorities – make ‘you time’ each and every day.  This need not be lengthy but it will help keep you well, motivated and productive. The following resources, from how to find a doctor, where to exercise, or find help coping with loneliness or psychological distress, may be helpful.



All of these services uphold strict standards of confidentiality.

School of Graduate Studies On-site Counsellor

Graduate studies provide opportunities for exciting new challenges and experiences. However, there are times when it can seem overwhelming. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, sad, lonely or distressed, you do not need to handle it alone.  The School of Graduate Studies has a new embedded counsellor (Janice Yu) who provide individual counselling services to graduate students, group programs, and will host mental health & wellness events.  

Please note that this counselling service is part of the services provided by Student Wellness and adheres to strict standards of confidentiality. Your counselling records will not be shared with anyone unless you give specific consent for release of your information.

How to Access Counselling Services at Queen’s

To book an appointment with Student Wellness Services (SWS) you can call 613-533-2506 and ask to set up an appointment with a counsellor – this can either be with the next available counsellor or there is an embedded counsellor for Graduate Students (Janice Yu).  All of these appointments are FREE, and are generally being done remotely over videoconferencing.  SWS is experiencing a high volume of calls these days so it’s possible that you may need to wait on hold for 10 minutes before you can speak to our admin staff.  You can read more about booked mental health appointments at SWS online too in case that helps.

Alternatively you can call Empower Me and ask to set up an appointment with a counsellor.  They have a toll free number (1-833-628-5589) which you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

There are a few other 24/7 phone and online options which we have listed on the SWS website under Get Help Now.

Student Wellness Services - Counselling

This integrated service offers counselling as well as general health care.

Cross-cultural Advising

The experience of studying in a new environment can be both exciting and challenging, but sometimes also overwhelming and stressful. The cross-cultural advisor, Dr. Arunima Khanna, provides support to graduate students.

Peer Academic Advising with SGPS (Society for Graduate and Professional Students)

Advocacy and support for graduate and professional students as they negotiate their many roles as students, researchers, teachers, employees and colleagues.

Support Services for Students in Distress

This comprehensive list includes on campus and community resources.

Therapy Assistance Online (TAO)

TAO is a new interactive tool to help you manage the many stressors that can come with university life. TAO’s self-help activities are built on scientific research and have been found to be helpful to students who are motivated to maximize the way they think and feel.

Watching the videos and completing TAO’s interactive components will help you feel emotionally well and get you closer to achieving your goals.

  • TAO is designed with busy students in mind
  • TAO is mobile friendly
  • You can complete TAO at your own pace, when you want, wherever you are. Each module can be completed in short manageable segments. How you engage with TAO is entirely up to you.
  • TAO offers many different modules. If you need some help deciding which modules are for you, there is a self-screening tool that can point you in the right direction

For full details on the program and  how to log into the system visit the Student Wellness Services website

LGBTQ2 Supports

Unfair differential treatment based on someone's sexual orientation is not acceptable at Queen's.

Queen's policy is modelled on the Ontario Human Rights Code, which makes it against the law to discriminate against someone or to harass them because of their sexual orientation.

Homophobic conduct and comment are prohibited as part of the Code's protection against discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, no matter what the target's sexual orientation is, or is perceived to be.

Queen's Human Rights Office

COLA - Coming Out Living After (COLA) is a Queer discussion group for all members of the Kingston community.  It's a great place to hang out, meet new people and discuss topics that pertain to the LGBTTQQIIAA community. Everyone is welcome!

COLA provides a positive, inclusive and confidential environment.  Some members may choose to use pseudonyms.  All members are asked to keep discussions 100 % private.

Learning About Mental Health

Mental Health Training

Queen's offers many workshops on mental health awareness and training. Especially valuable is Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Canada. Workshops on identifying and responding to students in distress and programs to challenge stigma are also offered.

Expanding Horizons

Expanding Horizons offers workshops on time management, anxiety, finding momentum and keeping it, getting unstuck, dealing with adversity, and psychological wellbeing that are specifically designed for graduate students and the unique challenges that may be encountered in graduate school.

The Green Card and Folder

This resource offers advice on how to help friends and students in crisis.

Combating Loneliness, Stress, and Low-mood

Dissertation Writing Groups 

If you are finding thesis writing to be solitary and isolating, connect with fellow graduate students over writing and food in Dissertation Boot Camp, Dissertation on the Lake, Thesis Persistence 101, or the Ban Righ Writing Studio.

Departmental and Campus-Wide Events

Check out the university events calendar to find out about talks and events across campus. Or consider taking an Expanding Horizons, Mitacs workshop, or a certificate program like Inter-Cultural Competencies.

Self-help Workbook Series

These workbooks provide support with managing your mood and anxiety, and looking after yourself.


Check out the resources on Volunteering to find out about opportunities to volunteer on campus or in the community. Internships provide another opportunity for connecting with people in a new setting.

Eat Well, Sleep Well, Work Well

Eat Well

  • Be Well Healthy Eating Tips
    Information about meal planning, nutrition and fun food ideas make eating well easier.
  • Optional Meal Plans for Graduate Students
    Optional Meal Plans are available for purchase by all students living off-campus. Graduate students are eligible to purchase our ‘Graduate Student Meal Plan’ which is valid for a five (5) week period.
  • Allergy Information
    Information and resources for students with severe allergies.
  • Grad Recipes
    Try out some of your fellow grad student favourite recipes that cost under $10/person

Sleep Well

Studies have unambiguously demonstrated the vital importance of getting enough sleep.

Work Well

A recent survey of graduate student health reported that many grad students experience back pain. This resource gives you tips about how to plan your work space and work habits to reduce this risk and how to deal with back pain.

Sexual Violence Prevention and Support

Support at Queen's

Queen’s University is committed to providing non-judgmental sexual assault support and response. Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual activity. Queen’s encourages survivors to reach out for support and offers the following steps as options to consider:

Steps to take after a Sexual Assault (78 KB) - Queen's Poster, March 2016 - Best printed on 11x14

See the new Queen's Sexual Prevention and Response website

Finding a Doctor

In an emergency: Call 911

24-hour Emergency Care: Kingston General Hospital, 76 Stuart St.

Local Kingston and Queen’s Health Services

As a Queen’s community member, you have a variety of options for finding a doctor. This page lists information on emergency services, family doctors, and children’s doctors in Kingston and on campus.

Student Wellness Services

(Formerly the Health, Counselling and Disability Services.)
All Students and their adult dependents will have a family physician at Queen’s Health, Counselling, and Disability Services, 146 Stuart St, LaSalle Building. HCDS/Student Wellness Services covers health, well-being, counselling, and disability services. The staff is made up of family physicians and registered nurses and provides infirmary care during clinic hours, allergy and immunization injections, extended hours and an on-call physician after clinic hours. Appointment hours are Monday – Thursday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Friday – 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Book an appointment by calling 613-533-2506.

TeleHealth Ontario

1 (866) 797-0000

This service offers free confidential access to registered nurses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Finding a Dentist

Most dentists take new patients. Ask for referrals from friends and colleagues. Check if they do direct billings to your health insurance group, accept credit cards, have evening hours and are conveniently located to campus or to your home.

Health Insurance

Primary Health Coverage

 Supplementary health coverage for all Graduate students 

The Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) provides a supplementary health plan that includes coverage for: prescription medicine, dental, vision care and travel, etc. (things not covered by primary health plans).

Medical Leave and Transferring to Part-Time Status

Medical Leave and Transferring to Part-Time Status

If you are managing challenging medical or personal circumstances that prevent you from engaging in full-time study, changing to part-time status may be an option. Medical leave is available for students who are unwell or who must provide care for members of their immediate family. Financial assistance for a medical leave may be available. If you have OSAP or are on a student visa, please check with the Director, Admissions and Student Services, SGS if changing your registration status will affect those arrangements.

Accommodations and Academic Considerations

Accommodations and considerations may be made to support students with disabilities and those facing extenuating circumstances that create barriers to academic success. To address such situations, the university has policies and procedures in place to help. Academic accommodations are specific to removing barriers in the academic environment that are created by impairments and limitations and are provided through Student Wellness Services. Academic considerations are determined by a course instructor and are related to your progress in the course.

Graduate Students with Disabilities

Queen’s University is committed to supporting all reasonable individualized and appropriate academic accommodation plans for students with learning, physical, psychiatric or disabilities, chronic illness, sensory impairments and other health conditions. Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (QSAS), a part of Student Wellness Services, helps to administer this support to students with disabilities. Any student with a documented disability can register with QSAS.

For more information, please review the regulations found in the Admission and Registration area of the Graduate Calendar and visit QSAS.

Short-Term Academic Consideration

Queen’s recognizes that students may have extenuating circumstances that temporarily affect their ability to fulfill their academic obligations and requirements, such as a sudden medical event or illness, bereavement, a traumatic event, etc. Other circumstances may include officially representing the university at sanctioned varsity athletics events or sharing research as a distinguished guest. In such instances, students can request consideration, which may take the form of a reprieve from work, a modified schedule, a deferral, an alternate assignment, a re-weighting of marks, or course withdrawal without penalty.

For more information and how to apply for academic consideration, please visit Accommodation and Academic Consideration on the School of Graduate Studies website.

Queen’s University is committed to building a campus community that is inclusive for all individuals, and ensuring that its services, supports and spaces are accessible for persons with disabilities. The Accessibility Hub is a central online resource for accessibility at Queen’s. It will serve to elevate inclusion and improve access for everyone on our campus.
We are a community that works together to create an environment where everyone has a full and enriching Queen’s experience. Successful learning, living, and employment outcomes are the result of a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, staff, faculty, and senior administrators towards removing and preventing barriers to participation.