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Getting help: Student mental health and well-being at Ryerson

A guide to on-campus counselling and support services
October 08, 2019
A group of students gather in a green space on Ryerson’s campus to enjoy the afternoon sun.

University students can face a particular set of stressors or issues that can impact mental health, says Maura O’Keefe, clinical coordinator at Ryerson’s Centre for Student Development and Counselling (CSDC). The centre offers a variety of programs and services to help students with their mental health and well-being. Photo credit: Mark Blinch.

Going to university can be an exciting time of life. The chance to make new friends, possibly live in a new city, and begin to build your future.

But sometimes, it isn’t easy. 

Making friends can be tough. There are financial strains. The pressure to succeed academically can weigh heavily. 

Others may have a tough time coping with a break-up, feel isolated, or feel distraught about a family situation.

If you’re having a difficult time with any of these circumstances, or if you’re feeling anxious or depressed for any reason, you’re not alone. 

“There is a particular set of stressors or issues that can impact the mental health of university students,” said Maura O’Keefe, clinical coordinator at Ryerson’s Centre for Student Development and Counselling (CSDC), adding that accessing help, learning about mental health and engaging in treatment for the first time is a process that can be unique to young adults.

If a student is in need, but hasn’t reached out to anyone yet, O’Keefe says what’s most important is to seek support. 

“If you’re a student who’s struggling, please know that there’s hope. With the right support, you can find ways to cope with whatever it is you may be facing,” she said.

Given that 75 per cent of mental health issues begin before the age of 25*, and that those 15-24 are more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age group**, it’s especially crucial.

If you’re looking to speak to someone about a mental health-related issue, or if you’d like to find ways to improve your mental health and well-being, read below for some of Ryerson’s services and resources that can help. 

Personalized care:

The Centre for Student Development and Counselling (CSDC) provides various types of care, referrals and resources for students as part of developing a personalized wellness plan with a counsellor.

When students first visit, they can start with a same-day appointment (or book an appointment in advance). Same-day appointments are typically available if a student calls before 10 a.m. They are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There are several options and opportunities available, including individual counselling, group counselling and more.

Learn what students can expect for a first appointment.

Phone: 416-979-5195
In-person: Jorgenson Hall (JOR) 07-C

Immediate, crisis help: 

A crisis involves a student’s safety and well-being or that of someone else. This can include thoughts and plans about harming oneself or someone else. If you are in distress and in need of help, don’t wait to seek help:

Between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday to Friday:

  • Call or visit the CSDC
  • 416-979-5195 or Jorgenson Hall (JOR) 07-C
  • If you are uncomfortable conveying the exact nature of your concern to the Front Desk, simply indicate where you are on a 10-point sale with 0 being not at all at risk and 10 being immediate risk 

After 5 p.m. and on weekends: 

  • Call Good2Talk - Student Helpline
  • 1-866-925-5454
  • A free, confidential and anonymous service for post-secondary students
  • 24/7 professional counseling, mental health information and connection to local resources

Other ways to take care:

Ryerson has a variety of resources and groups on campus dedicated to helping students develop and manage their well-being. A full list is found on the Ryerson Mental Health and Well-Being website. Resources include: 

  • Mood Routes: Weekly walks off-campus to connect to nature, refocus and de-stress
  • Student Learning Support: Services and programs aimed at helping students learn essential academic skills and study techniques
  • Thrive RU: Initiatives and resources that build motivation, optimism, resilience and the chance to learn essential skills like time management
  • Recreation: Activities, classes, intramurals and more that help students integrate movement into their regular routine to improve wellbeing, academic performance and connections to community

*Ontario Council of Universities
**Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

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World Mental Health Day is October 10. Learn more, external link.

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