Counselling services available to help students
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything for our students – how they entertain themselves, attend classes, interact with friends and loved ones – nothing is the same. But one thing that Greg Taylor, Georgian’s counselling co-ordinator and case manager stresses with the students he sees is the fact that we’re all in this together.
“I just try to normalize it that way and just remind them that this is a world pandemic so everyone is doing their best to learn how to adapt,” he says.
While Taylor reports he hasn’t seen an influx of calls since emergency measures have been put in place throughout Ontario and Canada, and Georgian’s campuses have been closed, he does see common issues in the students he helps.
Concern about grades, stress caused by being isolated, and anxiety around the health of loved ones are issues Georgian’s counsellors are seeing with students.
We may have different experiences during this extraordinary time, and our reactions may be different to what is happening in the world, but the message they want to get out to students is that no one will be left behind if they reach out for support.
“We keep reassuring students that Georgian is doing everything we possibly can to help students be successful and there’s lots of wiggle room, lots of flexibility,” he says, adding that any student can reach out for counselling. They don’t have to already be seeing a counsellor.
He acknowledges that faculty members are being relied on more than ever to support students during this difficult time.
“It’s a big job for the teachers and co-ordinators. Again, we’re all in this together,” says Taylor. “Teachers should direct students to counselling if they feel it could help. Remind them that our services are available remotely. Do what they can to normalize things. These are unusual times and the college will do what we can to accommodate students. Our accessibility advisors are also available. Everyone is doing everything they can to keep this thing working for everybody. It’s important to remind students that they are not alone.”
He says some tips that he received through Facebook, created by a psychologist, mirror what he has been telling students. They include:
- stick to a routine
- for 30 minutes each day, get outside, find time to move and reach out to others (that’s 90 minutes in total!)
- stay hydrated and eat well
- give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and a wide berth
- find your own retreat space
- limit social media and COVID conversations
- lower expectations and practice radical self-acceptance
- help others
- find something you can control – and control the heck out of it
- find lightness and humour in each day
It’s also important that faculty and staff know they are supported, and Georgian has been regularly posting wellness tips. This is Mental Health Week, and a good reminder to care for ourselves during this time. Check out a few helpful articles: