Supportive counselling is available from the personal counsellors in the Student Wellness Centre. Counselling could be for emotional upset or concerns about how emotions are affecting a student’s academic performance. The purpose is to provide support and teach the student skills that help them to deal with whatever stress is causing problems. Sometimes stress that goes unchallenged can lead to mental illness, by developing into depression or an anxiety disorder. This becomes more difficult to manage and may require medical support. Our team of family physicians has a wealth of experience in dealing with student mental health.
A thorough assessment is done to rule out medical causes and once the mental illness diagnosis is made, the student will decide about the treatment plan. Options to consider include medication, personal counselling or group counselling sessions.
The groups are designed to instruct students with the same difficulties to manage the symptoms they are experiencing. An example would be social anxiety, where students participate in a group to learn coping strategies. We also encourage students to develop a personal care plan. This involves the student setting goals to change their behaviour to a more healthy practice that will enhance their mental health. Examples would be to sleep at regular hours or to exercise daily. In cases of complicated mental illness, the Student Wellness Centre has a consulting psychiatrist or the student may be referred to specialized services in the Hamilton community.