A new drop-in after-hours counselling clinic for college and university students here in the city could become a model of how post secondary institutions can team up with community groups to expand mental-health services with limited funding.Last fall, both colleges and universities collaborated with student groups to release a joint report demanding more help from community services surrounding post secondary institutions.
The temporary centre opened today and runs until April 5th, operating three days a week between 5 and 9 p.m and it will operate Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at the Student Wellness Centre (Outside the Fowler Kennedy Clinic). Western University ran their crisis counselling from mid-November until Dec. 14 at there campus. During each session, about 70 people came to the clinics for after-hours crisis care.
Counselling is available through other campus services during the day, but because the clinic is offered through the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), it offers later hours and a guarantee that students will be able to see someone on the spot. CMHA counselors will help students with problem-solving and coping strategies and, where appropriate, make referrals to additional or ongoing supports both on-campus and off-campus.
Morganna Sampson, Fanshawe Student Union President believes that this is crucial for students and that it’s providing people with options
“That crisis clinic on Huron Street has become a lifesaver to Londoners in distress and, at the same time, has reduced pressure on hospital emergency departments for crisis care.”
Combating student perceptions that there is nowhere to turn, or that they will have to wait a long time for help, is part of the solution, says Sampson
“It’s not terrible wait times – it’s that students don’t feel the services are as accessible as they could be. … Sometimes when someone is in crisis they need that support the day of.”
The clinic is being funded by a three-year grant from the London Community Foundation. The grant is worth $236,000. Students who need to access help immediately can call Good2Talk, a 24-hour helpline for postsecondary students at 1-866-925-5454.