Counselling & mental health

counselling, campus, health

Counsellors provide a space for students to examine and explore behaviors, relationships, feelings, or thoughts which cause concern or challenges in their life. Whether these problems are primarily impacting personal, social, or academic life, a counsellor can help to strengthen a student’s ability to cope and provide a valuable source of support.

Before booking an appointment with a counsellor, students are encouraged to explore their concerns through self-help resources that are available. This is to help identify the chief concern(s) prior to your first visit with a counsellor.

Book an appointment

To book an appointment with a counsellor, call 250 807 9270 or book an appointment online. In-person and virtual appointments available.

Cancelling an appointment

To avoid a $30 cancellation fee, please contact our office at least two hours in advance if you need to cancel your appointment.

Other counselling resources

UBC Student Assistance Program

Offered by Aspiria, the UBC Student Assistance Program (SAP) is a free, 24/7 wellness resource for students offered in dozens of languages. Services include personal counselling, life coaching, group programs, and more, based on your needs. How to access the Student Assistance Program.

Third Space Life Charity: Student Care Program

Third Space offers supportive counselling in conjunction with the UBCSUO. Learn more about this at thirdspacecanada.org

Crisis lines

Kelowna crisis line is available 24/7: 1 888 353 2273.
Suicide crisis line: 1 800 784 2433
Vets4warriors: 1 855 838 8255

The UBCOSUO extended benefits include coverage for personal counselling. Many students may also have counselling coverage under their parents’ extended health benefits as well. If you wish to access a personal counsellor in the Central Okanagan, try this link: BCACC counsellors

How counselling helps

Counsellors can help you deal with a variety of issues that challenge your ability to be successful at university, including:

  • struggling to keep up with your studies
  • dealing with an emergency or a personal crisis
  • having difficulty with relationships, friends or roommates
  • wanting to improve your communication with others or becoming more comfortable speaking in class
  • dealing with anxiety and stress
  • experiencing panic, depression, or suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • managing your time so that you “have a life besides school”
  • having a friend who is having problems and you want to know how to help
  • have addictions that are taking control of your life
  • sexual concerns or difficulties with gender or self-identity

Stepped care counselling model

At UBC Okanagan, we offer a stepped care counselling model to best support our student population. The steps may include:

Step one

First counselling visit: determine needs, priority, and best resources for students to try.

Step two

Campus and personal self-care: Equip students with a range of community, campus, and online resources.

Step three

Groups and workshops: Guide students to available support groups and workshops to develop a peer support network.

Step four

Individual counselling: Provide appropriate resources to students needing individual counselling.

What is stepped care?

Stepped care is designed for high-volume student care situations. If long-term or ongoing counselling is needed, particularly if students have pre-existing mental health concerns, counsellors will work with students to determine resources and options in the local community.


What happens on the first visit?

In your first visit with a counsellor, they will meet with you to clarify your current needs and/or goals. With your counsellor’s support, you will develop an individualized plan to improve your overall well-being. This first visit is usually brief and shorter than a scheduled counselling session.


What kind of resources are offered?

For some individuals, campus resources offered by professional and/or student staff may be beneficial; and in some cases, workshops and groups on campus may also be available to address individuals’ mental health needs. There are also a wide variety of web-based apps that are well established to aid in a variety of challenges.


Do all students need one-on-one counselling?

Research on student mental health suggests that diversity in care delivery (not just in-clinic one-on-one sessions) is highly effective in helping students achieve their goals.

Sometimes one-on-one support from a therapist or counsellor is the best fit for your needs and/or goals. If this is the case, individual counselling options in the community and on-campus are available and will be discussed to determine the best fit.


Does this mean a lot of appointments?

Not necessarily. If you feel your needs would be better met by more frequent, long-term counselling, Studen Wellness will do our utmost to refer you to a counselling service that is right for you.


Where can I find information on mental health resources in the Kelowna area?

Refer to our list of community resources (PDF) to see what is available that may help you.

For more information on where to find a counsellor in Kelowna, visit BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC).