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Where to Get Help: 9 Accessible Mental Health Resources for University Students

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McMaster chapter.

The onset of a newly in-person midterm season presents difficulties for many students. As students, school is often prioritized at the expense of mental health which can lead to persistent burnout. The commonality of burnout means that many students believe it is the norm. However, there are alternative options to combat burnout and help improve your mental health!

Choosing to better your mental health can be a difficult and stigmatized process. Therapy and helplines are often thought to be used as treatments exclusively for those with diagnosed mental illnesses. However, therapy and helplines have many benefits for everyone, whether you are suffering from a mental illness or just want someone to talk to about everyday problems. As a university student, we have constant hardships and problems that we are facing daily—unloading and creating better thinking patterns can be beneficial to your everyday life.

The barriers of reaching out to someone for help can be extremely daunting, so I have created a list of accessible mental health resources to help anyone wanting support this season.

Counselling resources

1. The Student Wellness Centre at McMaster is an accessible resource for McMaster students to connect with a counsellor and talk through problematic situations and feelings in a confidential setting. This resource is generally covered by insurance.

CONTACT: 905-525-9140 ext. 27700 to book an initial appointment with a counselor.

2. The Student Assistance Plan (SAP) is a free program offered by the McMaster Student Union (MSU). SAP offers 24/7 support through psychological counselling in-person, over the phone, or through secure video. It is confidential and accessible to McMaster students, roommates, and immediate family members. Additionally, SAP provides academic and life services such as legal consultation, financial consultation, nutrition consultation, and life coaching. 

CONTACT: Call or text 1-888-377-0001 to connect you directly with a SAP provider, or go to their website: https://wespeakstudent.com/home/8-mcmaster-university and click on “Student Wellness Programs” to learn more. 

3. The Empower Me program offers 24/7 counselling services to graduate students at McMaster. This program has qualified counsellors to support students dealing with mental health problems of any degree. Empower Me stresses that you do not need to be in crisis to take advantage of their services, as they provide support in terms of mental health, personal performance, relationships, careers, and overall well-being.

CONTACT: Call 1-833-628-5589 from anywhere in North America to be connected to the Empower Me Clinical response Center, or log in to their website: https://ear.powerflexweb.com/1545/login_SC.html and use “Studentcare” as the password. 

4. Youth Wellness Centre is a mobile team of mental health professionals who provide services for McMaster students with concerns relating to substance use, mental health, and sexual and gender identity. This team operates out of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

CONTACT: Sashani Brown-Gowdie at her email sbrowngo@stjosham.on.ca, or call 905-522-1155 ext. 36318 to get connected with team members for personal care. The team member will meet privately with a student in MUSC B101/B118 to determine a plan for meeting the goals of the student. 

5. Shift Collab is a Canadian online therapy practice that offers counselling and mental healthcare from professionals across Canada. Their website offers an easy way for those with phone call anxiety to get matched with a professional. The staff will also aid in finding a therapist that fits your needs and concerns at a reduced price ($125 per session) for students. 

CONTACT: Visit their website to easily be matched with a therapist and find more information, or use the link https://www.shiftcollab.com/contact#Lets-talk to contact their care team to discuss options further. 

Other resources

1. Good2Talk is a free and confidential helpline that provides professional counselling and information, as well as referrals for mental health, addictions, and well-being to post-secondary students in Ontario. This service is 24/7 every day of the year. 

CONTACT: 1-866-925-5454 or dial 211 and ask to be connected to Good2Talk.

2. LGBT Youthline is a non-judgemental, confidential, and informed LGBTQQ2SI peer support helpline through telephone, text, and chat services. Their services run from Sunday to Friday, 4:00PM to 9:30PM. 

CONTACT: For phone services, call 1-800-268-9688. For text services, text 647-694-4275. 

3. Oakville Distress Centre is a phone and online mental health support service to help all individuals in Oakville and Hamilton coping with any problems including crisis, loneliness, and emotional stress.

CONTACT: 905-849-4541

4. TAO is a website providing mental health supports through videos, providing scientifically researched content to help build life skills, engage in professional development, and explore stress, anxiety, and depression. 

CONTACT: Visit Tao’s website for more information.

For more information:

Visit https://wellness.mcmaster.ca/resources/, which provides many more specific resources and solutions for mental health.

Taking care of your mental health can help you avoid burnout this midterm season and improve your overall well-being. If you are looking for accessible and affordable mental health supports, try out one of the resources listed!

Alyssa Murdoch

McMaster '23

Alyssa is a fourth year student in the Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (Mental Health Specialization) at McMaster. She has a passion for mental health and spreading awareness and knowledge of the subject to others. Alyssa also enjoys playing sports and intramurals at McMaster, as well as playing piano, reading, and baking!