While Brock’s Student Health Services is known for its function as an urgent care walk-in clinic and centre for physical health care and treatment, Brock also offers many services (through Student Health Services and elsewhere) for students struggling with mental health.
The specific services listed on the website for Student Health Services include health counselling and education about eating disorders or nutrition concerns, concerns about alcohol or drug abuse, stress, and other areas of mental health. Students who are concerned about their mental health can book appointments with Student Health Services to talk to trained medical professionals by either calling Brock extension 3243, or going to Harrison Hall in person.
“Confidential mental health support is available to all Brock students” according to Health Services. “Working collaboratively with the SHS physicians and nurses, the mental health nurse, psychiatrists, and eating disorder specialist [we] offer support through assessment and counselling to help you understand what you are experiencing and discuss options for support and treatment. Whether you have feelings of anxiety, depression, self-harming behaviour, suicidal thoughts, issues with loss and grief, substance abuse, or any other mental health concern, we are here to help you.”
For students who are hesitant about going to health services, Brock also offers free and confidential personal counselling for all students. Personal counselling is available to anyone who thinks they may need to speak with a counsellor about anything, including but not limited to stress, concern about mental illness, a mental health crisis, sexuality, or even just a general feeling that something’s not right. Many students meet with a counsellor on a regular basis; the service has no financial cost, and is beneficial for anyone struggling with mental health.
To book an appointment with personal counselling, students can call Brock extension 4750 during regular office hours (8:30 to 12:00 a.m. and 1:00 to 4:30 p.m.) or visit the Student Development Centre on the fourth floor of the Tower (ST400) to make an appointment there. For crisis situations, students can call extension 3240 for the quickest response. In emergency situations, students are also encouraged to call 911 for emergency services.
If students would prefer an alternative to an in-person counselling meeting, they can also call one of the distress lines available in the area for immediate, confidential help over the phone. Distress Centre Niagara is a crisis line resource in the Niagara Region, and can be reached at 905-688-3711. Coast Niagara also has a crisis line at 1-866-550-5205. Students can also call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. It may seem strange to see Kids Help Phone on a list of resources for university students, but the service is actually available for anyone who is 20 years of age or younger. All of these services are confidential, free, and set you up with trained professionals who are willing to talk you through what is happening.
For students who want to connect with other students to discuss mental health in a less formal or professional setting than counselling or crisis lines, Brock’s student health and wellness hub (or the HUB) is available for students to talk to peers and Brock Peer Health Educators about their health and wellness. The HUB is located across from the Starbucks in the upstairs of the Student Alumni Centre (near Skybar lounge, the BUSU office, and up the stairs near the Campus Store and Union Station), and is open Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
With winter coming, there is a lot of focus on the upcoming flu season, immunizations and maintaining physical health. While these are major issues at this time of year, and students need to take influenza seriously, the start of winter is also a very challenging time for many people who have mental illnesses or mental health problems, and having knowledge of the above services, as well as your own mental health, is important.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) is a form of depression that is linked to the season, and this time of year can be a very common time for SAD symptoms to begin appearing. People with SAD can find themselves feeling depressed or hopeless, losing energy, struggling to sleep properly, or experiencing other symptoms of depression.
“It’s normal to have some days when you feel down,” according to the Mayo Clinic,“but if you feel down for days at a time, and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you feel hopeless, think about suicide, or turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation.”
For people who don’t have SAD, or who have other mental illnesses or mental health problems, the increased levels of stress, workload and pressure, and the often reduced levels of sleep and self-care can cause mental health concerns around this time of year. If you are feeling at all unsure about your current mental health state, it is important to prioritize self-care, and also to seek appropriate professional help, whether that help be Student Health Services, Personal Counselling, a crisis line, your own doctor, or another form of appropriate support.