Student Wellness Services (SWS) has expanded their range of mental health programs available to students—including a new mindfulness program.
The new programs are the result of feedback from students and student leaders in collaboration with SWS staff.
Open to both graduate and undergraduate students, the programs are free and drop-in accessible. An SWS team member or a community representative with professional expertise will lead the workshops.
In a statement to The Journal, SWS Health Promotion Coordinator Beth Blackett, wrote, “For many students, workshops or group programs are a way to get the support or information they need. We want to offer a range of services to be as inclusive as possible.”
The new selection of programs features everything from mood walks to sessions on dealing with adversity. Additionally, it includes 40 Minute Focus, a weekly guided meditation session aimed at de-stressing students.
The Mind & Method Workshops offer a different focus with each session. The overall aim is to provide students with the skills to better manage their mental health.
“Last year we offered some of the workshops as well as drop-in mindfulness sessions. This year, we have expanded the offerings to include some new ones (i.e. mood walks, 40-minute focus, and ask the expert),” Blackett wrote.
“We have also offered therapy groups in the past that were referral only. However, we have expanded the number we are offering this term and we are working to make them more accessible to all students.”
SWS hopes group therapy and workshops will be more flexible options for students than waiting for one-on-one appointments.
“We also talk to other universities to see what they offer that has had a positive response from students and look at best practices in supporting student well-being,” Blackett added.
Another program—being developed alongside Student Academic Success Services—takes inspiration from an initiative at Ryerson University.
This coming winter semester program will centre on second and third-year students who’ve struggled with their health, and subsequently, their academics, in the fall semester.
“We are now also starting to focus more on mental health promotion and what students can do to build ‘mental fitness,’ as well as offering programs that support students in enhancing the skills and strategies they have to cope,” Blackett wrote.
“There are limits in what we can offer but we are fortunate to have the hospital and other community supports when needs are outside the scope of Student Wellness Services.”
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