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McGill has been working with students to improve health services, and the Student Wellness Hub is the culmination of more than two years of work and student consultations.
Part of the difference is physical: renovations in the Brown Building have freed up space to add more clinical and front-line staff and, by extension, expand our capacity to address students’ needs.
Spaces are more welcoming for students coming in for appointments, or just sitting and studying.
But more importantly, the Hub is a new way to deliver care to students.
Services have been expanded, and better integrated and streamlined, so students can access care more quickly and pass more easily between services. Electronic kiosks have improved the process leading up to standing in front of a health professional, and online booking will eventually be available to make accessing care more convenient.
In tandem with Local Wellness Advisors on campus, the new model aims to empower students to be better informed and more in control of their wellness.
Most of our resources, including appointments with doctors, nurses, dietitians and counsellors, are available virtually, with limited in-person appointments on Mondays and Thursdays. You can visit our Access Remote Services page to learn what is available, and how to make an appointment.
We also have free workshops and programming available online every day, including yoga and exercise sessions, art hives, mental health advice sessions, and more. Visit our Remote Workshops & Programming page to learn more!
General Practitioners: The Hub's team includes GPs offering same-day and pre-booked appointments.
Nurses: You can book an appointment with a nurse for certain conditions. Some drop-in appointments are also available.
Dietitians: Need support making healthy nutritional choices? Our dietitians are on-hand to help.
Access Advisors: Two full-time Access Advisors - both licensed mental health professionals - are available in the Hub to help students who aren't sure what kind of care they need.
Counsellors: We have a large team of counsellors who offer one-on-one counselling as well as group programming.
Psychiatrists: The Hub includes a number of psychiatrists (available by referral only) who can diagnose mental illnesses, monitor medication, and refer to services off-campus.
Local Wellness Advisors: Part of our "hub-and-spoke" model, LWAs are available in every faculty to deliver programming and meet one-on-one with students.
Because it works. We know that preventative strategies promote mental health and prevent some mental health concerns. We also know that the same prevention strategies are effective for treating or alleviating some mental health issues.
We focus on early intervention because we know our students lead hectic lives, and it can be tempting to put off asking for help. We want to help our students address their challenges before they escalate into crisis situations that create additional barriers to their academic success.
In Canada, healthcare services are regulated by the provincial government. Students from outside of Quebec - including international students - will usually need to pay out-of-pocket for any medical services received off-campus and file a claim for reimbursement to their insurance provider. If you wish to open a file in a private clinic off-campus, there is often a one-time fee that is not covered by most insurance providers. Student Services is currently working on building relationships with healthcare providers in the community to expand the range of options available to our students.
If you are having difficulty making ends meet, have an urgent financial need, or would like help budgeting or planning finances, you can reach out to Scholarships and Student Aid to explore your options with an advisor.
There is no fixed cap on the number of visits or sessions with our professionals in the Student Wellness Hub. However, due to the number of students we serve, it is not always possible to follow students as frequently as they would like. When students need longer-term, more frequent care, we help them connect with providers off-campus. Please note that even when a student is referred to an off-campus service, they remain eligible for all the supports available on campus.
Although we can’t give an accurate estimate until the Hub has been open for a while, the goal is to streamline the process and reduce how long students need to wait.
Along with hiring more counsellors, medical professionals and two new Access Advisors (trained professionals with backgrounds in mental health who will help students at the Hub connect to the appropriate service), investing in electronic kiosks and introducing a phone tree to reduce waiting times on the phone, we’ve also developed our Collaborative Care model to get you the care you need as soon as possible.
We recognize that not everyone needs counselling: some students just need a stranger to talk to, or support from peers in the same position as them.
Whatever your needs, both the Virtual and real-world Hub are there to inform you of and connect you to all the options available to you.
Absolutely not. To the contrary, the University has committed more resources to mental health than ever before. In addition to a generous gift by The Rossy Foundation, McGill has made a significant, long-term contribution to support the Student Wellness Hub. In the past, these services have been entirely funded by student fees.
For students with serious mental health concerns, we know that lamps and bikes aren’t enough. Counsellors, psychiatrists and other clinicians are available to support students and connect them with resources outside the university if they need longer-term care. We’re working to reduce wait times and improve access to these services for the students who need them.
But we also recognize that not all students need therapy. Some students need help de-stressing during exam period or guidance on avoiding procrastination. Some need a trained stranger to talk to anonymously. And yes, some might benefit from quiet time on a bike to work out their anxiety for a while or from a few minutes of light therapy to help beat the winter blues.
There is no single service or approach that work for everyone. The Wellness Hub aims to improve access to all health and wellness services at McGill, and to improve communication to students about what exactly those services are.
The Eating Disorder Program was discontinued as a separate program in 2018, but professionals who specialize in eating disorders remain on campus, along with a host of programs and events aimed at healthy eating and body positivity.
Students can make an appointment with a counsellor for psychotherapy, join a counselling group, or speak with a health professional, including a dietitian, at the Hub.
Students with eating disorders should also be referred to a psychiatrist for a specialized assessment and to explore ongoing support options. Please note that referrals for eating disorders can only be done by a doctor (unlike other referrals to a psychiatrist, which can also be done by a McGill counsellor).