By Chris Adams
Students at the University of Calgary’s satellite campuses may soon have better access to mental health services.
Students’ Union veterinary medicine representative Blythe Sola is looking to expand services offered by the Wellness Centre to students in the faculty of medicine and veterinary medicine who attend classes at the Foothills and Spy Hill campuses.
She said stressed vet-med students would benefit from improved access to counselling.
“We’re undergraduate students like everyone else, contributing to the same sort of amenities and services with our fees,” Sola said, “but we have a really hard time accessing them because we’re [at the Foothills campus].”
There were 126 students enrolled in veterinary medicine in the fall of 2013, while 1,946 students were enrolled in the faculty of medicine.
Sola will conduct a survey in the fall to see which services students want most.
Wellness Centre director Debbie Bruckner said the university wants to offer mental health alternatives to counselling. Bruckner admitted they could be doing more. “We know we need to do some more work around broad availability to programming that could be department based,”
Bruckner said. The Wellness Centre is consulting with the Mental Health Commission of Canada on a cellphone app to help students identify mental health problems.
“The app looks at a mental health continuum that, depending on what’s on our plate or what we’re faced with, we may move in and out of healthy and illness related states,” Bruckner said. “If we have the appropriate information and training, we can support people as they make that move and support them to return to a healthy state.” The app is still in development, but Bruckner wants the
U of C to pilot the program. Sola hopes career services, resume-rescue and academic counselling will be expanded as a result of her survey.