BY LAVANYA KATHIRGAMANATHAN
The Sheridan Student Union is promoting a new mental health and wellness program that you can access 24/7, 365 days a year.
Empower Me allows students to connect with counsellors, consultants, and life coaches by telephone, in person, via video, or through e-counselling. The program is covered by the $285 students pay for their health and dental plan. Empower Me includes other services such as life coaching, financial planning, nutritional counselling, and more.
If English is not your first language and you would like to reach out to someone, Empower Me offers support in multiple languages such as Arabic, Tamil, Spanish, and French. Everything is confidential, but students will have to give some background information before getting help. Coping with mental health concerns can vary throughout cultures and families. When seeking services, there can be barriers such as the fear of being misunderstood or not finding appropriate support.
Issues of mental health are a huge concern for all post-secondary institutions. In 2016, the National College Health Assessment found that almost 90% of students felt overwhelmed, and 65% had experienced overwhelming anxiety. Recently, colleges and universities have taken steps to make sure their communities are aware of these challenges.
Post-secondary institutions play a role in delivering services when students are at a point in their school life where they deal with mental health issues amplified by things such as juggling a heavy workload.
Jenna Walters, a student studying photography at Sheridan College, has experienced this herself.
“When it comes to exams, I tend to feel stress because of all the pressure dealing with assignments from other classes with exams that happen right after, and not having enough time,” said Walters.
She also said that Empower Me is something she would consider using in the future if she feels uncomfortable talking to her peers about her situation.
Ben LeBlanc, the president of the Sheridan Student Union, says that it is really important to recognize that this service goes deeper than mental health services.
“We wanted to do something beyond that because (the) mental health of our students is so important and having access to a service that could potentially cost thousands of dollars outside of school, mainly telephone counselling, is something we believe can be valuable.”
LeBlanc says that no matter your background, or your area of study, it is great to be able to access a range of resources in your community and this is a very supportive program.
For more information on Empower Me, you can visit the page here, and log onto the Empower Me website by using the password ‘Studentcare.’ If you would like phone counselling, call toll-free: 1-844-741-6389.