You can book your initial appointment by calling 905-525-9140 x 27700 or visiting reception. Together we will explore support options and decide on your pathways to receive support.
Before meeting with our mental health team, we ask that students fill out the forms below. This can be done online 24 hours prior to appointment time OR you can arrive 15 minutes early and complete the form in-person at reception.
*Note: These forms are only available after you have booked your appointment.*
The Patient Agreement Intake Form must be completed by all students accessing the SWC, once per year.
The Counselling Intake Form must be completed by students meeting with our mental health team for the first time.
For International students, the SunLife claim form must be completed once per year.
Information Box Group
Looking for the PDF versions of these forms? See below:
Are you new to the SWC’s Counselling services? Here is what you need to know:
To begin your mental health journey at the SWC, you will need to start with a Mental Health Intake appointment with one of our Counsellors or Mental Health Nurses. Using our Pathways to Care Model, we will explore the best way to approach your needs.
You can book your initial intake appointment by phone (905 525 9140 x 27700) or in person at reception (PGCLL 210). Please note, all new patients seeking mental health services must attend their initial consultation appointment in person.
If you aren’t able to book in advance, you can also come to the SWC during Drop-in hours.
Before your first scheduled appointment, you must complete intake forms. These forms must be completed online, 24 hours prior to appointment time OR in-person at reception 15 minutes before your appointment. Follow-up appointment times may vary during the semester.
One to One Counselling Options:
Short-Term Counselling (Indigo Path)
- Let’s focus on you! We at the SWC have revamped our model to improve access. We are implementing an evidence-based brief model to support your needs.
- Appointments will focus on supporting your most immediate needs.
- Wait times between counselling sessions may fluctuate depending on demand.
Drop In (Orange Path)
We understand quick access to counselling can be a challenge. To help with this, we have implemented Drop In hours with a number of same-day appointments. These appointments are available for students with urgent needs and/or for students who are not currently connected with our mental health team.
- Same Day Appointments are available daily on a ‘first come first serve’ basis
- Monday-Wednesday, check-in begins at 12:30pm and ends at 3pm.
- Thursday check-in starts at 1:00pm and ends at 3pm
- Friday check-in starts at 1:30pm and ends at 3pm
Pathways to Care
Pathways to Care was developed to maximize support and effectiveness of decisions used to direct students to various therapy and counselling resources, since not every student entering a consultation appointment may need to see a counsellor or to enter into long-term counselling.
There are a lot of resources available to students including online, or on or off-campus resources. Pathways to Care is here to help find the best fit for you.
Counsellors will sensitively listen and then, lay out a series of options that include online information; interactive online modules such as TAO and WellTrack; referrals to the Student Assistance Program; daily mindfulness sessions; psychoeducational groups; therapy groups; all the way to individual counselling sessions and medical appointments, as well as referrals to community and other resources.
Which of these options you end up pursuing is decided by you and a professional during the consultation appointment.
Information Box Group
- Initial contact (one-on-one)
- Scheduling an appointment
- Walk in appointments
- Pre-booked consultation appointment
- Short-term model
- Needs assessment
Psychoeducational Groups & Psychotherapy Groups
- Therapist assisted
- Includes workshops
- Skill building with DBT, CBT, ACT, & Mindfulness
- Therapy group topics include Trauma, Sleep, Procrastination (& more!)
Short Term Counselling
- Individual therapy
- Referral to community care if needed
- Stabilization and support
- Referral to other resources
- Referral to physician for additional supports
- CBT Practitioners
TRANSFER OF MEDICAL & COUNSELLING RECORDS:
You may submit a Release of Patient Information request if you would like to obtain a copy of your records for yourself, or transfer your records to another entity.
- Hand-draw signatures are required.
- Typed signatures will not be accepted.
Allow up to four weeks for your request to be processed.
- The transfer of records is considered an uninsured service.
- The patient is responsible for the $30.00 fee incurred for the transfer of an entire medical or counselling record.
- The $30.00 fee may be waived if only a select few documents are requested (e.g., a single laboratory report only, vaccine record only, records from a single specific issue only).
- Payment can be made by cheque or through Mosaic.
- An invoice with payment instructions will be mailed to the patient’s address provided on the Release of Information request form.
If it is requested that records be transferred by email, please acknowledge the risks entailed with exchanging personal information by email, as outlined in the Patient Agreement.
If you would like your records transferred to a legal professional, the request must come directly from the law office that you are working with.
At first, the idea of participating in a larger program might seem intimidating. But wellness skills programs, in which one or more counsellors lead a weekly group of 5 to 15 people, can be very beneficial. In fact, participants are often surprised by how rewarding their experience can be.
In addition to strengthening your relationships skills, reducing isolation and helping you find your voice, these programs are also especially valuable for individuals dealing with depression, social anxiety and life transitions. It is an opportunity to learn and develop skills to manage anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and intense emotions.
- Helping you realize you’re not alone.
- Facilitating the giving and receiving of support.
- Helping you find your “voice.”
- Helping you relate to others (and yourself) in healthier ways.
- Providing a safety net.
All SWC groups are free and confidential. Email the facilitator to find out the start date of the program. Some programs are offered more than once in the term, and this is indicated by the number of sessions. You will be expected to fill out an intake form and attend sessions as indicated by the facilitator. Wellness skills programs often have recommended readings or between sessions activities. Any questions can be directed to the facilitator. Repeat attendance is welcomed!
Counselling is a way of helping people solve their own emotional, personal, or interpersonal problems. Counselling provides a rare opportunity to be listened to without being judged, and without being told what to do or what is “good for you”. It usually involves the exploration of problems in an environment that is both supportive and objective. Counselling and psychotherapy involve the development of new skills and approaches to manage difficult life situations. Strategies are often suggested for managing and altering patterns of upsetting thoughts, feelings and behaviour. It also may involve the identification of alternative courses of action that might solve a problem. The implications of those alternatives are typically explored, and perspective is usually gained on the problem and its effects.
Counselling is not giving advice or solving your problems for you. It is understandable that one might wish that another person could solve their problem(s), but no one can presume to know with sufficient certainty what is best for another person. This is especially true when considering difficult, complex, or emotionally troubling situations.
Nobody knows! To be more accurate, nobody knows in advance. Each year we talk with hundreds of McMaster students who encounter unforeseen problems that interfere with their academic performance and/or emotional well-being. University students are capable, talented, intelligent and resilient people, but they are not immune to pressure. In fact, the academic stress caused by the challenge and competition that characterize most university programs can magnify other difficulties that students experience, and can stir up any emotional vulnerabilities they may already have – sometimes even if they have already dealt with them in the past.
There are numerous concerns for which students seek counselling. These include but are not limited to: Alcohol and drug problems, anger, anxiety, assertiveness, bereavement, body image, childhood physical, emotional or sexual abuse, depression, family problems, homesickness, identity, loneliness, loss of motivation, mental health issues, pain, problems with food or body image, procrastination, relationship problems, low self-esteem, sexual assault, sexuality, and test anxiety.
Supporting educational goals and the mental health and wellness of our students is the primary focus of the Student Wellness Centre at McMaster University. According to Statistics Canada, teenagers and young adults aged 15-24 experience the highest incidence of mental illness of any age group in Canada. Thus, comprehensive, strengths-based, client-centered and supportive programs are the focus of McMaster’s Mental Health and Wellness Team.
It is important for our students and health professionals to recognize that the school environment poses distinct challenges for students. With understanding and co-operation, the Student Wellness Centre’s team can work with students to help them reach their educational and life goals even if they are facing mental health concerns.
The role of the SWC Counselling area is to provide brief mental health counselling and related services to help McMaster students identify barriers, improve coping, and achieve personal goals.
What is treated through brief interventions at the SWC
Some examples of clinical issues that are likely to be addressed through brief interventions and support at the SWC:
- Academic related issues – (motivation, perfectionism, interpersonal communication, self- discipline, etc.)
- Mood and anxiety issues (depression, anxiety, self-esteem, social anxiety, self-destructive behaviours)
- Relationship issues (conflicts, communication, break-ups, assertiveness, etc.)
- Adjustment issues (dealing with transitions, new life circumstances, etc.)
- Grief and loss
- Trauma, sexual assault
- Eating disorder (not medically compromised)
- Substance use/abuse treatment (not clinically compromised)
Those whose needs cannot be accommodated within our treatment model will be referred to community resources for care. Such referrals might occur immediately following the consultation appointment, or they may occur after some treatment and further assessment of need has taken place.
Our services are available to eligible students (undergraduate and graduate students) whose concerns fall within our scope of practice. We cannot provide service to continuing education students, part-time students, or partners of students who are not themselves students, or students who have graduated and are no longer enrolled in classes.