‘ There can be a lot of stress for students’
New campus counselling service available to CBU students
Cape Breton University students will have access to mental health resources beginning this fall.
“There can be a lot of stress for students,” said Brandon Ellis, president of the CBU students union, said of the need for the program, which he says should help students with a variety issues that may arise outside of the classroom.
“It’s tough making that transition from high school because the workload is significantly heavier and you are more on your own, as opposed to having someone push you along.”
The university and its students union signed on for the Aspiria program, which allows students to contact a counsellor for mental health issues and also gives them access to financial and legal services at any time.
A clinical psychotherapist, an addictions counsellor and an academics counsellor are other examples of assistance available to students and their families through the new program.
“It’s essentially a hotline,” said Ellis. “You can call Aspiria any time of the day, any day of the year, and you can speak to a representative and they can talk to students in 150 different languages, which is very big for our international community.”
Nutrition, bereavement, bullying, and anxiety are other key areas of expertise the new service is said to provide as a complement to other services now available at the university.
“We are finding that stu- dents might want a different type of mental health service as opposed to a traditional face to face,” said Ellis. “With Aspiria you can talk over the phone with a therapist, you can do a video chat, you can even email with them.”
If a student doesn’t feel comfortable meeting with a school counsellor, Aspiria can set them up with a counsellor in the community.
“If Aspiria feels that a meeting with a social worker might be more appropriate for the student, they’ll just recommend them back. Ideally, they’ll work hand in hand with each other.”
Ellis said the program comes to CBU after a successful implementation at St. Francis Xavier and other universities. There’s no cost for students who attend in the coming year because the university will pay the full bill during the trial period.
Norm Smith, director of student services at CBU, said the service will allow the university to expand and complement counselling services to the campus community.
“We are very pleased to have supported the initiative by our students union,” said Smith. “It clearly shows their leadership and commitment to our students.”
At the end of next year students will be asked if they want to keep the program. If they vote to keep it, the cost will be $5.50 per student.
Cape Breton University students union president Brandon Ellis looks over some information on Aspiria, a new campus counselling program. The service will be available to students at the university in September.