Unifying wellness services

Brochures and pamphlets at mental health walked promoted wellness. (Heather Davidson)
New Student Wellness Centre to be opened. (Heather Davidson)

Renovations will soon be starting for a new Student Wellness Centre that will combine all of the mental and physical health services available at Wilfrid Laurier University into one unified facility. Construction is expected to be complete by late summer. The changes are meant to provide students with an easier and more comfortable setting for addressing their health needs.

“Students can go there for anything from a stubbed toe to depression,” said Students’ Union president and CEO, Annie Constantinescu.

As a former residence life don, Constantinescu felt that it was sometimes difficult to refer students to the proper services when they asked for help.  Students themselves may be intimidated or perhaps be unaware of the services that are available on campus to help them with their physical or mental health needs.

According to the vice-president of student affairs, David McMurray, the renovations will open up the hallway on the second floor of the student services building where health and counseling services are currently located into a “circle of care.”

“The new design will eliminate wait times and be much more welcoming,” said McMurray.

The new Student Wellness Centre will include physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, personal counsellors, full nursing staff and receptionists.

The Student Wellness Initiative was formed to address issues related to student mental and physical health. Made of faculty, staff and students, the group has not only worked toward the Student Wellness Centre but also worked to make the process of finding help as easy as possible.

President of the Graduate Students’ Association Ashley Coleman said that with the changes that have been made a student can now tell their story to a single professional and have all their needs met.

“Students won’t have to tell their stories multiple times,” Coleman continued.

Coleman herself accessed counselling services in her undergrad and health services during her graduate studies for wellness concerns after her family lost their home in a house fire.

Her experiences motivated her to get involved and work to actively improve these services so that students can receive the support that they need.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Coleman.

Constantinescu, who also worked with the Student Wellness Initiative, feels that these changes will help to remove the barriers and stigma that may prevent a student from seeking the aid that they need.

“I personally love it,” she said.

McMurray pointed out that students can face a great deal of challenges in higher education.

“They must maintain healthy lifestyles and be well.  We don’t want students to be under pressure to achieve academically at the price of their health,” said McMurray.

During the renovation period in the late summer, counseling services will be relocated, likely to Leopold Residence.

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