Centre seeks feedback on new merged triage

Wellness Centre changes making ‘positive impact’

Wellness Centre - ONLINE Jessica Dik 2
Photo by Jessica Dik

Since Wilfrid Laurier University’s new Student Wellness Centre opened up at the end of August, students have been able to make appointments with both counselling and health services in one area. According to Karen Ostrander, the director of the Wellness Centre, the goal was to bring the two areas together to decrease confusion for students.

“I’m not saying it’s a perfect system — we’re still doing an ongoing evaluation and sort of tweaking, but I think the one big benefit is that there is one door so students don’t have to figure out which service might be right,” she said.

“One of our goals was to make sure people could talk to somebody and then with that helping professional be able to figure out what would be the best next step.”

The centre is still in the process of adding up the number of visits from students from the fall term. After a year-long process, they will be looking at numbers and feedback in order to improve.

“I haven’t noticed the peaks and balances — they’ve been pretty consistently straight throughout and all our appointments are getting filled, so we’re really committed to try and get students in as soon as possible,” said Ostrander.

As well as being a single-serve triage for both counselling and health services, students no longer have to go through a formal intake process before being able to see a counsellor. Feedback given to the centre showed that people found this process daunting. These changes have made a positive impact on feedback from students.

“My past couple experiences with the new Wellness Centre have been great,” said George Morrison, a second-year global studies and political science student. “They’ve done a great job of keeping everything familiar to us when we go in and they implemented their image of a non-discriminatory setting.”

“With all students sitting in one waiting area together and not knowing which offices are for counselling and which are for non-counselling purposes, going in for an appointment is a lot less embarrassing.”

Dean of students Leanne Holland Brown will be sending out an e-mail to students next week with a survey to give the Wellness Centre feedback. This way, according to Ostrander, the centre will know what they can do to improve.

She said feedback from students is a critical asset to how the centre can improve.

“I certainly encourage them to respond to the survey that is coming out through the dean of students office because we’re really committed to try and support the services to the students.”

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