The Counselling Centre

The Counselling Centre


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Please Note: The Counselling is currently unavailable to provide drop in appointments for new stuents to our service until further notice. New students can book an appointment time by walk in, telephone 902-420-5615, emailing counselling@smu.ca or booking online.

Below is a video on The Counselling Centre and how to utilize our services:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1MuaaLkq6IlNDRZelBrTC1GRkk 

The Counselling Centre provides a broad range of confidential services all free of charge to students currently registered and attending classes at Saint Mary's.


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We offer individual personal counselling, academic & life skills coaching and consultations. Our team of professionals will help you meet your academic and personal goals. We understand how stressful university life can be and how making small changes can have a huge impact. Staff are generalists in their training with experience working with University students.

We try our best to respond as quickly as possible to meet the needs of our students. We are not an emergency clinic therefore we will refer all emergencies to the QEII Emergency Department (19 years old and over), located on Robie Street or the IWK Emergency Department (under 19 years old), located on South Street.

Our hours during the academic year are 8:30am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-4:30pm and during the summer 8:30am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-4:00pm.

When students first come to The Counselling Centre they are required to complete an intake form which takes 5-10 minutes. Students who have never used the services of The Counselling Centre have the opportunity to drop in for their first session, in order to be seen immediately when it best suits their schedule. You will meet with our Intake & Programs Coordinator for approximately 30 minutes to discuss your concerns and options. Drop in times are as follows: Monday/Thursday/Friday: 1pm-4pm and Tuesday/Wednesday: 8:30am-11:30am.

All new students for Academic & Life Skills Coaching also have an opportunity for a drop in session first. Drop in times for this service are offered Monday: 8:30am-11:30am and Tuesday: 1pm-4pm.

Note: Drop in times are subject to change. Students are seen on a first come-first served basis. Subsequent appointments for Counselling and Coaching will be scheduled for set times.

Returning students can book an appointment for personal counselling and/or academic & life skills coaching by calling 902-420-5615, emailing counselling@smu.ca or dropping by our office, 4th Floor, Student Centre (turn left once you get off the elevator) or you can book online.

Morneau Shepell offers 24/7 free, confidential phone, email and web counselling to Saint Mary's students. If you are an emergency or crisis after hours, please contact Morneau-Shepell at 1-855-649-8641 and tell them you need immediate assistance. This service is confidential and you will speak with a Counsellor right away if you are in crisis.

To view Morneau Shepell's new student support website visit http://mystudentsupport.com/ and be sure to check out the articles on: Managing stress with yoga, mental health myths, etc.

What is Peer Support?

Peer Support happens in a relationship between people who have experiences in common. This could be a mental illness, stress or anxiety, a difficult time in life, or university adjustment. Peer Supporters offer their fellow students emotional and social support as they too have struggled.  This support is grounded in hope, empowerment, and recovery.

Peer Support focuses on health and recovery rather than on illness and disability. Supporters can help individuals move towards a greater sense of self-confidence and wellbeing.

All students are welcome to visit a Peer Supporter during drop-in hours. Peer Support can be an additional resource from students already seeking treatment as well as a safe, confidential space for students to talk to a trained peer.

Who are my Peer Supporters?

Peer Supporters are students who have experience dealing with mental health concerns. These students are trained within the Stay Connected Mental Health Project and The Counselling Centre to support their peers through active listening, goal-setting, and resource referral. As students, Supporters understand how stressful university life can be. Peer Supporters are here to help with a lot of mental health concerns including managing stress, coping strategies, relationship problems, and referrals to other important resources.

For more information on mental health and life balance please visit http://ourhealthyminds.com/.

Healthy Minds is now available for free for iPhone, iPad, iPad mini and iPod Touch through the App Store or through healthymindsapp.ca and difd.com, where printable promotional materials are also available.

Transitions is a free mental health booklet. To view the booklet please click the link http://teenmentalhealth.org/toolbox/transitions/ .

The Counselling Centre has various mental health initiatives we have developed which include: how to help a student in distress, SMU Talks for Faculty and Staff, WellTrack an online mood tracker for students and much more.

SMU offers some great InBalance Wellness programs. Please visit http://www.smu.ca/campus-life/inbalance-wellness-program to view upcoming events/sessions being held.


April Thoughts from The Counselling Centre

 Exam time is here again – is test anxiety an issue for you?

Test anxiety is when a student excessively worries about performance during an exam or other form of academic evaluation. While some anxiety is normal (and even helpful), too much can become a major hindrance on test performance and can cause extreme nervousness and memory lapses.

Are you suffering from excessive test anxiety? Take our quiz below for a quick evaluation and then read on for a few tips that may be helpful.

Read each statement and choose the number that best describes how you generally feel. Do not spend too much time on any one statement.

 1) While taking exams, I have an uneasy, upset feeling.

              (Never) 1           2            3            4            5 (Always)        

 

2) Thinking about the grade I may get in a course interferes with my work on tests.

              (Never) 1           2            3            4            5 (Always)

 

3) During exams I find myself thinking about whether I’ll ever get through school.

              (Never) 1           2            3            4            5 (Always)

 

4) During tests I feel very tense.

              (Never) 1           2            3            4            5 (Always)

 

5) Thoughts of doing poorly interfere with my concentration on tests.

              (Never) 1           2            3            4            5 (Always)

 

6) I feel very panicky when I take an important test.

              (Never) 1           2            3            4            5 (Always)

 

7) I feel my heart beating very fast during important tests.

              (Never) 1           2            3            4            5 (Always)

 

8) During tests I find myself thinking about the consequences of failing.

              (Never) 1           2            3            4            5 (Always)

 

Add the numbers associated with your responses. In general, a low test anxiety score is desirable. Therefore, if your score places you above the 75th percentile your performance on tests is likely to be impaired by anxiety.

Percentiles                        Men                     Women                           

95                                      25                        28

75                                      18                        21

50                                      15                        17

25                                      11                        13

5                                        8                          9

 

A few tips for managing test anxiety:

- Being well prepared for the test is the best way to reduce test taking anxiety. Start studying early whenever possible!

- Space out your studying over a few days or weeks, and continually review class material. Don’t wait until the night before and then try to learn everything with only a  few hours until the exam.

- Exercising for a few days before the test will help improve your mood and reduce stress.

- Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before the test.

- Show up to class early so you do not have to worry about being late. This allows you a few moments to settle in and compose yourself before the exam.

- Avoid frantically trying to memorize the last bits of information while you are waiting for the exam to be handed out. This can increase the anxiety you are experiencing and the information is unlikely to enter your long-term memory under such conditions.

- Read the directions of the exam slowly and carefully.

- If you do not understand the directions or one of the questions on the test, ask the instructor to explain it to you.

- Write down important formulas, facts, definitions and/or keywords in the margin first so you won’t worry about forgetting them later.

- Do the simple questions first to help you build your confidence for the harder questions that may come later.

- Don’t worry about how fast other people finish their tests – just concentrate on your own work. It is sometimes helpful to sit near the front of the class so that you are not as distracted by what others are doing and when they are finishing.

- If you do not know the question, skip it for the time being. Come back to it later if you have the time, and remember that you do not have to always get every question right to do well on the exam.

- Focus on each question at hand. Do not let your mind wander to the questions that you have already completed or those that have yet to come. Treat each new question has the opportunity to gain more points on the exam.

- Right before the exam, it is generally best if you do not talk to other classmates about what they have studied and how they have prepared. Again, this can potentially increase your anxiety and can lead to worse performance on the exam. Remind yourself that everyone has likely focused on slightly different areas when studying. They may be more comfortable on one topic but you may be more comfortable with another. Just because someone seems to be more knowledgeable about one particular area does not mean that you should start questioning your preparation. After you get your exam mark back, then you can look at your study habits and whether they should be modified, but sitting in the exam room is not the time to question your preparation.

- If you would like additional assistance with reducing test anxiety, academic coaching is available through our Intake & Programs Coordinator.

Good luck on your exams!

The Counselling Centre at Saint Mary’s University