Counselling services expand their availability

Wilfrid Laurier University’s Counselling Services has implemented new walk-in times to book both intake and crisis appointments in order to keep up with the demand from students for their services.

In the past, Counselling Services offered one-hour appointments for students based on the availability of the counsellors working, which slowed down the appointment process. Students had to wait long periods of time before being able to speak to someone and this became a concern for many students.

“Demand for counselling and the wait for initial in-take appointments became longer and longer,” explained Alison Bertoia, director of Counselling Services. “And [Counselling Services] didn’t want to cause a barrier for anyone and wanted to be able to invite people in as quickly as possible.”

New walk-in appointments were also implemented to help counselling services be “more responsive to decrease barriers for students coming in and gives the student a chance to have initial consultation as quickly as needed,” continued Bertoia.

The new walk-in times for in-take appointments are from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Walk-ins for crisis appointments take place Monday through Friday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Bertoia also stated that the demand for Counselling Services has been “increasing incredibly quickly,” which also affected the decision to have new walk-in appointments.

In order to help with the growing amount of challenges students are now facing, WLU’s Student Success Team (SST) has recently put together new Student Crisis Response Procedures (SCRP).

The SST is made up of faculty and staff who have a lot of interaction with students and are able to identify students who may need increased support. They analyze trends within WLU and come up procedures, such as the SCRP, that will aid students.

“Laurier is a community where our faculty and staff care deeply about students . [SST] wanted to make sure that the whole community was in power to be able to support the students,” said dean of students, Leanne Holland Brown. “This is not one person’s job—this is a job of the entire university community.”

The new procedures will make it easier for faculty and staff to refer students to services available, which can help with different challenges they may be facing.

It has information and contacts regarding such services as Special Constables, Counselling Services, academic advising, Residence Life and the WLU Food Bank.

“The ultimate goal [of the SCRP] would be that it allows students who need the extra support to access that support in an easier fashion,” continued Holland Brown. “Collectively, we are all helping our students succeed [together].”

For more information regarding the new procedures outlined by the SST, students and staff can look on the WLU website or stop by the dean of students office.

Students interested in gaining more information regarding Counselling Services are invited to go by their office, located across from Health Services on the second floor of the Student Services Building.