Scope of Services

Student Wellness Services is an important part of the university’s commitment to promoting a mentally healthy campus life for students.  When mental health concerns are getting in the way of your life as a student, we are here to help.

We believe:

  • Finding the right kind and level of mental health support when you need it should be straightforward.  We can help you find a support pathway.  
  • Mental Health support can be anything from how to care for our well-being, how to find a place where you belong and/or how to seek academic accommodation while dealing with a mental health concern. This can happen with the help of physicians, therapists, academic and accessibility advisors, wellness coaches, and your friends and family. 

We provide a confidential, judgement free, culturally responsive and safe space for you to receive care and support.

  • All of our therapists undergo Positive Space and Rainbow Health training and complete cultural competency and racial trauma trainings.  
  • We also have counsellors who focus in supporting LGBTQ2S+ students, a cross-cultural counsellor, cultural counsellor at Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre and a counsellor who works with Black-identified students.

Model of Care

We provide a short-term model of care, which is geared towards resolving personal difficulties and dealing with urgent, distressing situations.   

We have a robust inter-professional team including:

  • Accessibility advisors
  • Counsellors
  • Dietician
  • Health Promotion specialists
  • Peer Wellness Coaches
  • Nurses & Nurse practitioners
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physicians
  • Psychiatrists
  • Triage and navigation staff

Types of Therapists

Focused: Work specifically with Black-identified, LGBT2SQ+, Indigenous, marginalized/racialized students, students who have an eating disorder or who have experienced sexual violence.

Embedded: Understand culture and specific demands of their department/faculty and are more familiar with navigating their policies and procedures.

  • Treat your concerns confidentially.
  • Respect equity, diversity, and inclusivity needs of students.
  • Plan for academic accommodation when mental health is affecting how you function as a student.
  • Help you stay healthy with a range of wellness and health promotion opportunities.
  • Provide individual and/or group therapy to address concerns including low mood, anxiety, adjustment, stress, managing distress and debriefing of traumatic situations, issues related to race, culture, sexuality, and identity.
  • Offer occupational therapy to strategically address mental health barriers to academic success.
  • Provide limited medical or psychiatric support to respond to emerging mental health treatment needs.
  • Triage and system navigation to find the best pathway of care as well as referral to external services as needed.

  • Regular appointments with a psychiatrist.
  • Treatment for complex mental health diagnoses as these require specialists, care plans, and supervision.
  • Immediate access to a doctor for a mental health diagnosis and/or medication review.
  • Access to psychoeducational testing including ADHD assessment & diagnosis.
  • Long term, regular or weekly psychotherapy.
  • Guaranteed same day service, or frequent daily or weekly service.
  • 24/7 crisis response, community outreach / wellness or safety checks.
  • Family therapy or personal fitness training.

We will be clear with you when we are unable to provide the services you need and help to identify the appropriate service option. We work closely with partners in the Kingston community to assist students who need specialized mental health services or longer-term support.

Therapist Appointments

  • You will be sent forms to sign over email, please ensure they are filled out prior to your appointment. 
  • We do not share any of your personal health information with anyone outside of our health care team without your express consent. The only exception is when we are concerned for safety (yours or someone else’s) and in these situations; we only share what is necessary to resolve the safety concern.
  • We start each appointment assuming that we will get a lot done in just one session about the issue that motivated you to reach out. Sometimes students only need one appointment to feel better able to manage.
  • After our session, we will suggest whether additional supports or activities (e.g., booking another appointment, attending a workshop, or using another campus or community resource) are needed.
  • When more than one session is needed, we review our progress after a few sessions to make sure we are heading in the right direction. If other specialist services or longer-term services are needed, we will help refer and connect you.

We have many different therapists at Student Wellness Services  

We have focused therapists that work with Black-identified, LGBT2SQ+, Indigenous, marginalized/racialized students, students who have an eating disorder and/or students who have experienced sexual violence. We have embedded therapists are specialized to particular faculties or students in Residence. We also have other therapists that can meet a variety of student needs. 

General Booking:

  • If you are new to mental health therapy, ask to book an appointment, explain what year and program you are in or if you can, what type of therapist (focused or embedded) you are interested in.  
  • If you are already connected to a therapist, ask for them by name. Priority is to maintain your connection with that therapist; however, if they are not available, you will be given the option of seeing someone else

Specialized Booking: 

  • If you are with the Smith Commerce  or Smith Engineering faculty you can use the online booking process.
  • If you are a student living in residence, book with a  Residence Mental Health Therapist. Call to book an appointment and request the residence mental health therapist. 
  • If you are an Indigenous student seeking a therapist from Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre, send an email to asking to book an appointment with the Cultural therapist.
  • If you are in medicine, send an email to asking to book an appointment with the Medicine embedded therapist.

Therapy Groups

Groups are a great way to gain skills that can help keep you mentally strong.  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.

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.

Learn what wellness groups are available

How to Maximize Results

There are several things you can do to help get the most out of your one-on-one appointments and/or wellness groups.

  • Plan ahead in terms of what you want to work on during your session.
  • Be honest and open about the issues you present in sessions and be willing to explore the role you play in each problematic situation.
  • Keep all your scheduled appointments. If you are unable to attend, please cancel your appointment as soon as possible, so it can be used by another student.  A fee may apply if you miss an appointment.
  • Be thoughtful between sessions about issues explored and try out new ideas and strategies. If assigned “homework,” you need to be prepared to do the work in between sessions.
  • Be open to other supplementary care options (e.g., physical activity, healthy eating, etc.).
  • Provide feedback to your counsellor, including letting them know what you think is working and where you have concerns.  Alternatively, you can complete the feedback survey.

  • 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.

Get Help Now
Urgent, emergency, and 24/7 resources

Make/Cancel and Appointment
Medical, Mental Health, and Health Promotion

Empower Me
Free 24/7 mental health and wellness support

Groups, Events and Trainings
Learn skills to improve your health and well-being

Self-Help Workbooks