Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Stepping up mental health care through new model

Counselling Services introduces new workshops and expands support groups for students.

University life can be stressful for many students. And at Queen’s, there is no need for any student to struggle with stress or anxiety alone. That’s why Counselling Services has created new initiatives that aim to gather students who are concerned about their mental wellness together so they can help support and learn from each other. 

Students walking around campus after a snow storm. (University Relations)
Students walking around campus after a snow storm. (University Relations)

“In the fall term, we launched a number of workshops and formed several support groups as we move towards a stepped care model,” says Rina Gupta, Director of Counselling Services. “This approach allows us to reach students more quickly, support more students at once, and provide alternate methods of care.” 

A similar set of programs will be offered this winter.  

The workshops this semester include ‘The Upside of Stress’, ‘Positive Psychology’, a two-part series on sleep, a session on perfectionism, another on managing panic attacks, and a session aimed at helping those who have friends who have been through traumatic and difficult events.  

The workshops are led by counsellors, and are intended for those who are seeking specific information on the topics presented. They are designed to be interactive such that students will have opportunities to ask questions specific to themselves or a friend.  

The support groups have been quite popular, and include two varieties – drop-in, which anyone can attend, and therapy groups which require a specific referral.  

The drop-in groups tackle topics such as stress management, and mindfulness practice. The therapy groups, which range from ten to twelve participants, feature a set curriculum. They are aimed at students who are looking to build skills in managing powerful emotions, navigating interpersonal relationships, and want to successfully manage anxiety issues. There is also an ongoing group specific to survivors of sexual violence.  

“There are situations in which working one-on-one with a counsellor will be most effective for a student,” says Dr. Gupta. “But alternate delivery methods for care can actually be the best option for others, depending on the circumstances. By offering these groups and workshops, we aim to best meet the needs of all students seeking support, and we hope to increase capacity and reduce wait times at Counselling Services.”  

Counselling is incorporating a few other changes to expand their offerings and better serve students. They have just added two new positions – a drop-in crisis counsellor, and a second equity and diversity counsellor.  

The crisis counsellor will allow for quick access to a professional for students in their highest time of need. This counsellor has specific experience and training in providing this service, and will be seeing students on a walk-in basis, no appointment needed. 

The equity and diversity counsellor, meanwhile, has specific training and experience to help students who are facing challenges related to cultural factors, or issues related to money, sexual identity, or disability.  

To learn more about Student Wellness resources including Counselling Services, visit queensu.ca/studentwellness