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. 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. Walk-in appointments are available from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (there may be a waitlist).

Cancelling an appointment

To avoid a $50 cancellation fee, please contact our office at least two hours in advance if you need to cancel your appointment.

Other counselling resources

UBCO students have 24/7 access to Studentcare’s EmpowerMe support services. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, reach out to the EmpowerMe counselling service.

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.

Self-help resources

An important component of many treatment plans includes accessing the appropriate resources. To start, this may include learning more about mental health challenges that are relevant to you through online and printed educational resources.

As well, this might require incorporating new tools, activities, and strategies into your day in order to promote greater resilience and mental wellness. For some individuals, accessing campus resources through professional and/or student staff may improve their personal wellbeing; and in some cases, workshops and groups on campus may also be available to address individuals’ mental health needs.

To learn more about mental health resources available to you, browse the list below or refer to our Mental Health Resources (PDF).

Groups and workshops

Need a creative break?

De-stress and enjoy free, open art-making every day on campus. Come alone or bring a friend. No artistic experience necessary!

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday
1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Location: lounge area near Health & Wellness (UNC 337)

Daily mindfulness drop-in sessions

Monday to Friday
12:15 to 12:45 p.m. in UNC 328

The SMART (Stress Management and Resiliency Techniques) program trains participants to:

  • Manage stress through a greater understanding and control of emotions
  • Employ self-care techniques to cultivate personal and professional resilience
  • Create effective strategies for relating to challenging situations
  • Enhance concentration and executive function (planning decision-making, and impulse control)
  • Revitalize purpose, personally, and professionally
  • Improve peronal overall mental and physical health
  • Promote happiness through healthy habits of the mind

Everyone is welcome. No experience necessary.

Learn to manage anxiety

Everyone experiences worries, anxiety and stress. Y-Mindfulness Groups are here to help young people (ages 18 to 30) learn how to deal with anxiety and/or stress so they can live their best lives. The program is run by caring, trained staff, in a safe supportive environment. There is no cost to participate.

For more information or to register, contact:

Upcoming events: Not events scheduled now. Check back soon!

Connect Counselling & Therapy Society

Connect Counselling & Therapy Society (formerly The Kelowna Family Centre) provides affordable and professional counselling services to adults, seniors, children and families. We offer counselling to groups, individuals and couples to meet community needs.

Learn more

Mental Health Apps

The following apps may be useful in helping to manage symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health issues. Most of these apps are free to download from the links below. If you are unsure which app may be most helpful for you, a counselor at Health & Wellness can help you decide.

Anxiety Release based on EMDR
Anxiety Release shows you how to release anxious thoughts and feelings naturally, by harnessing the power of your brain.

iTunes   Google Play

This app uses individual tools and tactics to develop healthy long-term habits for dealing with different symptoms and forms of anxiety.

iTunes   Google Play

Self-help Anxiety Management
Using clinical-based evidence, this app provides a range of self-help methods that work to reduce anxiety.

iTunes   Google Play

7 Cups Of Tea
An online emotional support service that allows members and guests to connect anonymously with trained listeners to gain support for everyday issues such as anxiety, loneliness, emotions, depression, and coping with breakups.

iTunes   Google Play

A problem-solving tool to help deal with emotions and cope with the stresses you encounter both on- and off-campus.

iTunes   Google Play

Can connect the user to support services 24/7 and includes several self-management tools and direct access to ECounselling.

iTunes   Google Play

The CBT-based app offers users tactics for recognizing and altering thought and behavioral patterns.

iTunes   Google Play

This app provides meditation options that are flexible to the situation you find yourself in.

iTunes   Google Play

Using a cognitive based approach, the app utilizes the imagination to help induce sleep.

iTunes   Google Play

Insight Time
Home to more than 3,200,000 meditators, Insight Timer is rated as the top free meditation app on the Android and iOS stores.

iTunes   Google Play

Frequently asked questions about the stepped care counselling model

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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).