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.
- Everyone must look after their own mental well-being, from the activities and behaviours we engage in each day, to making decisions to seek help when needed.
- 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 promote and care for our well-being, how to seek academic accommodation while dealing with a mental health concern, through to counselling, medical, and/or specialist support.
We provide a confidential, judgement free, culturally responsive and safe space for you to receive care and support.
- All counselling staff 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 strengths-based 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
- Health Promotion specialists
- Nurses & Nurse practitioners
- Occupational therapists
- Triage and navigation staff
- 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 mentally healthy with a range of wellness and health promotion opportunities.
- Provide individual counselling and wellness groups 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.
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 a professional mental health counsellor helps bring a new perspective, provides new skills and resources, and new ideas about how to use your current strengths and resources.
- 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.
- When booking an appointment, make sure you identify your faculty and year to ensure you get faster access to the right counsellor.
- When you book an appointment, you may have to wait for it to be scheduled, but we will let you know how you can access other useful options. Learn how to book a mental health counselling appointment.
- If you are in commerce, engineering, or medicine, faculty-embedded counsellors have their own booking process. Learn how to contact faculty-embedded counsellors.
Types of Counsellors Available
Address issues related to stress, low mood, relationships, academic stress, clinical depression, and/or anxiety disorders.
Work specifically with Black-identified, LGBT2SQ+, Indigenous, marginalized/racialized students, students who have an eating disorder or who have experienced sexual violence.
Understand culture and specific demands of their department/faculty and are more familiar with navigating their policies and procedures.
- Arts and Science: call SWS and ask to book an appointment with the Arts and Science embedded counsellor.
- Commerce: book through the commerce online booking system
- Education: call SWS and ask to book an appointment with the Education embedded counsellor.
- Engineering: book through the engineering online booking system.
- Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre: send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org asking to book an appointment with the Cultural Counsellor.
- Graduate Studies: call SWS and ask to book an appointment with the Graduate Studies embedded counsellor.
- Medicine: send an email to email@example.com asking to book an appointment with the Medicine embedded counsellor.
- Nursing: call SWS and ask to book an appointment with the Nursing embedded counsellor.
- Residence: call SWS and ask to book an appointment with the Residence embedded counsellor.
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.
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.
- The more you put into a group, the more you will get out of it. You can participate as little, or as much as you feel comfortable.
Get Help Now
Urgent, emergency, and 24/7 resources
Make/Cancel and Appointment
Medical, Mental Health, and Health Promotion
Free 24/7 mental health and wellness support
TAO – Therapy Assistance Online
Free self-directed wellness tool
Groups, Events and Trainings
Learn skills to improve your health and well-being