Model of Care

We provide a short-term mental health model of care which is strengths-based and geared to resolving personal difficulties, dealing with crises and distressing situations.

  • We are working to reduce wait times for initial appointments by offering a hybrid model that focuses on 30-minute, same-day sessions and has the flexibility to offer some pre-booked, longer sessions as needed
  • We work closely with partners in the Kingston community to assist students who need specialized mental health services or longer-term support
  • We strive to be a safe and supportive space for LGBT2SQ+ students.  All counselling staff undergo Positive Space and Rainbow Health training and we have a counsellor who is very experienced in supporting students from the Queer and Trans community
  • We strive to offer culturally sensitive care. All staff undergo racial trauma training and are skilled in offering supportive spaces for all. We have a psychologist on staff who specializes in cross-cultural issues. We also offer specific counselling supports to Indigenous students as well as black-identified students

Most people can handle some level of stress, however, there are times when stress demands more energy and resources than people feel they have available. Sometimes people find that talking to an impartial person helps them gain a better perspective than talking to a friend or relative. Counsellors can foster skill acquisition that can help you be successful personally and academically.

Some reasons why people seek mental health services:

  • Transition to university
  • Homesickness/loneliness
  • Academic engagement or direction
  • Relationships (family, romantic, platonic)
  • Anxiety and mood problems (e.g. depression, suicidal thoughts)
  • Self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Stress
  • Dealing with racism
  • Abuse and assault issues
  • Sexuality and sexual orientation
  • Substance use
  • Eating/body image difficulties
  • Self-harm
  • Coping with grief or loss
  • Social functioning

Groups are a great way to gain skills that can help keep you mentally strong. Students often gain a lot from being part of groups, including:

  • Learning from other students who are facing similar challenges
  • Developing communication, self-expression, and social skills
  • Accepting guidance and support from others, plus skills on how to guide and support others

While the idea of groups may seem intimidating at first, they allow for personal growth and learning in a safe space, and can often be more effective than one-on-one appointments.

Our team of mental health professionals are all trained at the master or doctoral level in clinical psychology, counselling psychology, and/or clinical social work. In a short-term mental health model, staff will work collaboratively with you to develop an individualized care plan, including:

  • Focusing on "getting you back on track" vs. in-depth exploration and analysis of the issue
  • Facilitating independent action
  • Helping you identify and utilize your strengths and resources
  • Focusing on what small changes can lead to big ones

Some needs and issues would be better addressed through longer-term services due to their complexity and history. We do offer some longer-care options within our mental health service and the need for these options will be determined by our professional staff. Occasionally, we are unable to meet complex mental health needs for certain students. In this case, our mental health professionals will try to help connect you to community resources.

While mental health appointments are meant to be a helpful experience, this cannot be guaranteed. The student-therapist fit is important. Students who see a mental health provider will be asked to do the work needed on their part, as it is a collaborative process. It is not uncommon for students to experience an increase in symptoms or emotional discomfort prior to any potential improvement, or to realize there are other issues that need to be addressed. It is important to discuss any discomforts you are experiencing with your mental health provider.

However, depending on the nature of difficulties addressed, potential benefits include:

  • Facilitating coping and wellness
  • Changes in unhealthy habits and behaviour
  • Removal or reduction of symptoms
  • Improvements in self-esteem and overall mood
  • Problem resolution of specific issues addressed in therapy
  • Improvements in one's ability to perform academically
  • Positive change in personal relationships

There are several things you can do to help maximize your results.

One-On-One Appointments

  • Keep all your scheduled appointments. If you are unable to attend, please cancel your appointment as soon as possible. A fee may apply if you miss an appointment
  • Be honest and open about the issues you present in sessions, and be willing to explore the role you play in a given problematic situation
  • Be thoughtful between sessions about issues explored, and try out new ideas and strategies. If assigned “homework,” do it. You need to be prepared to do the work in between sessions
  • Provide feedback to your counsellor, including letting them know what you think is working and where you have concerns

Groups

  • Share your insights and experiences, as appropriate, with the group
  • Reflect on your thoughts and actions in between group sessions
  • Complete assigned tasks which may include journaling or handouts
  • The more you put into a group, the more you will get out of it. That being said, you can participate as little, or as much as you feel comfortable

Be open to other supplementary care options (e.g., physical activity, healthy eating, etc.)

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