As any McGill student knows, the end of a semester brings a lot of stress and anxiety. These feelings can make studying for finals and, overall, living our day-to-day much harder than it has to be. Taking care of ourselves isn’t always as easy as some make it out to be, and it’s been even more challenging this year as we navigate our way through the pandemic and studying in a remote environment. Sometimes, we need help to reach a baseline that is good for us, and that’s okay. With this in mind, I decided to check out some of the mental health resources that McGill offers. I truly hope you find these resources helpful in your current and future semesters at McGill.
Health and Wellness Map
The Health and Wellness Map is a wonderful tool to find resources in your area. The search engine takes the following into account: the type of care you want (ex. Medical, Counselling, etc.), a more specific sub-category (ex. Dentist, psychologist), your type of insurance, and your preferred language(s) of service. This is a great starting point if you’re not sure what kind of resources you want or where to get them.
You can access the map here: https://wellnessmap.mcgill.ca/healthmap/
Wellness Hub Self Help Resources
The Wellness Hub’s self help resources are another great starting point. You can choose to learn more about a variety of topics, such depression, anxiety, healthy eating, self-compassion, sleep wellness, and more. Each one takes you to a page with information, tips, online resources (including apps for both Apple and Android), and Wellness Hub resources. This page is especially helpful for making a personal action plan, depending on your wants and needs.
During my first year of university, I was having a lot of consecutive ‘low’ days, and consulted the self help resources to better understand how I was feeling. For example, the information on depression showed me some signs of a low period, which confirmed what I was going through. The self help resources also gave me tips like setting smaller goals instead of big ones, making sure to take care of my everyday health and not just my mental health, and making time for the things I enjoy. At the time, I also decided to meet with a psychologist through McGill and I got back to where I felt I needed to be in order to function the best I could.
You can access the Self Help page here: https://www.mcgill.ca/wellness-hub/self-help
Talk to Your Local Wellness Advisor (LWA)
The Faculty of Arts’ LWA is Bianca Brunetti, an experienced mental health clinician. It’s important to know that the Local Wellness Advisors at McGill can’t refer you to a psychiatrist directly. That being said, a LWA has the best knowledge of resources within each faculty and it never hurts to speak with one.
After you book an appointment with a Local Wellness Advisor, they will conduct a 45-minute assessment with you to gauge what kind of resources will best benefit you. Next, they provide a brief intervention and together you create a wellness plan that you are comfortable with and confident in.
If you want to learn more about LWAs or book an appointment with one, see: https://www.mcgill.ca/wellness-hub/get-support/local-wellness-advisors
The MySSP app clearly communicates McGill’s Student Support Program. Through the My SSP app, you can access Keep.meSAFE, a mental health counselling service that specializes in student support. Some benefits of the app is that it’s completely COVID safe: you can still get the support you need while we remain at home.
With everything that is going on this year,, I am having issues with motivation and sleep. So, I decided to use My SSP to get some advice. The app offers a contact option where I chose to chat instead of call out of personal preference. Depending on what time you use this function, you then wait in a short virtual line up.
While chatting with the counsellor, I felt really listened to and was reassured that what I was feeling made sense. We had a good chat about realistic goal setting and schedule making. By making my to-do list shorter, my ‘completed tasks’ list gets longer. Overall, I like the SSP app a lot for virtual chat support because of the way they interact with students and how they give advice depending on your needs and wants. The MySSP app is available for both Apple and Android devices.
Other Great Resources
- Vent Over Tea is a free active listening service that is currently taking place over the phone and/or Skype, due to COVID-19.
- The service fosters connection in all members of the community and breaks down the barriers that might otherwise impede on that.
- Note: although the service was created by McGill psychology graduates in 2015, it is open to the broader community and not just to McGill.
- Once you book your session, you’re paired with a trained empathetic listener to chat in a local coffee shop (pre-COVID-19).
- It’s important to know that these listeners are not trained psychologists or counsellors and are not there to offer advice. Instead, they offer a safe space with a compassionate and listening ear with no judgment.
- Similar to Vent Over Tea, the McGill Peer Support Center offers confidential and non-judgemental space to be listened to.
- The main difference between Vent Over Tea and the Peer Support Center is that the latter focuses on support and connecting you with the right resources.
- The Student Wellness Hub has a variety of workshops that are catered to be brought to you virtually.
- Types of workshops include: Getting Sound Sleep, Managing Stress in Uncertain Times, Science of Happiness, Skills for Coping With Perfectionism, Skills for Managing Exam Anxiety, Turning Failure Into Success, and much more.
These are just a handful of the resources available to you. For more, visit the Student Wellness Hub at https://www.mcgill.ca/wellness-hub/.
Before you go, please remember that each and every one of us deserves to live a happy and healthy life. No matter how you feel, things can and will get better!