Fanshawe to offer support for students in crisis

Header image for the article Fanshawe to offer support for students in crisis Credit: DYLAN CHARETTE
From Oct. 21 to Dec. 4, Fanshawe's Counselling & Accessibility Services will be offering Crisis Support to students Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the Student Wellness Centre.

Many students may begin to feel the stress of college as term goes on and exams approach. That’s why from Oct. 21 to Dec. 4, Fanshawe’s Counselling & Accessibility Services will be offering Crisis Support for students in need.

Crisis Support offers walk-in services that put students directly into contact with Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) workers, as well as peer volunteers. Students can access these services on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the Student Wellness Centre.

Director of Counselling & Accessibility Services, Suzanne Book, said there is an understanding that students deal with far more than just academic stress when it comes to their mental health.

“We know that students often struggle with managing multiple issues that may include relationship issues, financial issues, anxiety, depression, coping with academic demands, or they may have longer term, more complex mental health issues,” Book said.

These mental health issues can create an extreme barrier between students and academic success.

“Students cannot learn if they are not well.”

Unlike other counselling services, the Crisis Support Service works in partnership with CMHA, so students can meet with a CMHA worker on a walk-in basis, rather than being transported or referred elsewhere. It is a specific service made for students who need immediate assistance.

“As the wording suggests, crisis services are aimed at supporting students who may be struggling with a very significant issue that has become overwhelming, and for some, that overwhelming feeling may include thoughts of selfharm,” said Book. “We want to ensure that students have access to information, support, assessment and an opportunity to connect with services both on campus and in the community for ongoing help if needed.”

Book said that the program is also unique in its inclusion of peer volunteers.

“Fanshawe student peer support volunteers help by greeting students who are accessing the service and help to answer questions about this service as well as other resources.”

Throughout the year, Counselling & Accessibility Services offers a wide array of options for students. WellTalk is a single session, one-on-one counselling service offered on a walk-in basis. For long-term counselling, they also offer on-going personal counselling with trained professionals. There are several wellness groups hosted on Tuesdays (as part of the BE Well program), which help students practice balance, calmness, and connection. By attending the BE Well sessions, students can even earn co-curricular hours.

Whatever challenges Fanshawe students may face, there is help from Counselling & Accessibility Services. For many students, college is the first step into the ‘real world’, and that can come with any number of difficulties. The upcoming Crisis Support will offer immediate assistance to students in a state of urgent need, but Suzanne Book wants Fanshawe students to know that they are not alone, and that the Counselling & Accessibility Services can help students before they reach the point of crisis.

“Reach out for help,” she said. “Try different services or options if the first option doesn’t seem like a good fit. Things can be better. Work with us, with other campuses services, or with someone in the community.”