Reaching out for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but of strength, says Mohsan Beg, executive director of the Student Counselling Centre.
The centre offers a range of supports for mental health and wellness, from informal drop-in groups to individual therapy.
“We are a professional staff of licensed mental health practitioners,” Dr. Beg says. “Just like you would go to a medical professional to help you heal if you had a broken bone, we are here to help you heal when you need it.”
He says the centre has been serving students facing a range of challenges, from anxiety and academic stresses to depression and severe mental illness. The pandemic and subsequent response measures have compounded these issues.
“COVID has closed a lot of the normal support activities, whether it’s hanging out with friends or working out at the gym,” says Beg. “All of us are experiencing isolation and exhaustion from the whole process. You don’t have to feel alone.”
He notes that the counsellors have specialized training in trauma-informed practice and the centre has been working to diversify: “We’re making an effort to make sure our staff reflects the campus population.”
The counselling centre is a safe space and its services are completely confidential. Beg suggests students consider the drop-in support groups: Racialized Voices Gather Together, COVID Care Conversations, and LGBTQ+ Drop-in Group.
“Just knowing you’re not alone and there is collective support for you can make a huge difference in our ability to cope,” he says. Other available supports include the Wellness Outreach Office and the My Student Support Program (MySSP), which provides free counselling 24/7.