With the wealth of information concerning mental health in the last few years, NAITsa is continuing its work launching a new service offering online counseling services to students as part of their myWellness Plan.
Haley Pickard, ESTL and Benefit Plan Coordinator at NAITSA explains, “the myWellness Plan is an online mental health support resource for all students and some of the most important aspects are the online counseling and the mental health survey.”
The survey, available online, is a free tool that will walk you through a series of questions and then offer a personalized mental health assessment and subsequent action plan. Details for mental health services on campus and outside the school can then be found on the website.
“The assessment is pretty extensive, so if students get tired halfway through they can save it and go back. It then creates a personalized action plan to increase their mental health,” describes Pickard.
Following the survey, one of the options available to students is the new online counseling service. The opportunity to chat over a military-level encrypted video program affords students the chance to talk to registered psychologists from across Canada while remaining at home.
“It’s very well controlled,” says Pickard, “its face-to-face, similar to Skype or Facebook chat. You’ll be looking at someone; you can just do it from the comfort of your own home.”
Naomi Pela, VP External at NAITSA, has used the new service and believes the innovative technology is a major advantage.
“I was reluctant in the beginning because I am the type of person who prefers in-person interactions, but then I tried it and found it very easy to use,” said Pela.
Before your first session, you are prompted to write about yourself and what you’re struggling with. You are then given three counselor profiles to choose from and select the one you feel suits you best. Counselor profiles include a description of their approach to mental health analysis and a photo of themselves.
“What I really liked is that you can do it from anywhere,” continues Pela. “I did it from home, in my kitchen, on my laptop. I’m in my own space and I feel more in control. It’s not awkward…and the counselor I found has been so great. I’ve heard people say it, and I thought, “Oh, it’s just a saying,” that the screen disappears, but it really does.”
Your first counseling session with the new online service is completely free. Should you choose to pursue further appointments, the rate is around $36.75/half hour, although credit students who have NAITsa benefits get these covered. The sessions, are available to all students regardless whether you’re in credit or part time programs.
“No one has to know that you’re talking to someone. If you are sitting at home and you have half an hour, or a break at school, you don’t have to tell anyone that you’re talking to a counselor,” said Pela. “It’s a private thing that you can keep private if you choose to do so.”
The online myWellness offers a plethora of other tools for students looking for mental health services, including a toolbox with ways to reduce your stress level, the essentials of mental health, a list of different problems associated with mental health and suggestions to help both yourself and others who may be struggling.
The service is flexible and has a wide range of hours, with 24 hour and text services in the works for the near future. It is also available in a variety of languages with counselors fluent outside English, which ensure this service is widely available to all students.
More information about this service, or any of the other mental health services offered by NAITSA, can be found at http://mystudentplan.ca/nait/en/mywellness. Or stop by the NAITSA office in E-131.