Counselling & mental 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.
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.
Covid-19 mental health supports
Here to Help BC has compiled a list of free and low-cost Mental Health supports.
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
Third Space Life Charity: Student Care Program
Third Space offers supportive counselling in conjunction with the UBCSUO. Learn more about this at thirdspacecanada.org
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:
First counselling visit: determine needs, priority, and best resources for students to try.
Campus and personal self-care: Equip students with a range of community, campus, and online resources.
Groups and workshops: Guide students to available support groups and workshops to develop a peer support network.
Individual counselling: Provide appropriate resources to students needing individual counselling.
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 (March 2021)
Other resources to manage your anxiety may include such things as this workbook Your best You Managing Your Anxiety
Visit our Groups and workshops page to view a variety of groups and workshops offered in collaboration with UBCO Health & Wellness.
Connect counselling and therapy society
Connect Counselling & Therapy Society (formerly The Kelowna Family Centre) located in downtown Kelowna provides affordable and professional counselling services to adults, seniors, children and families. Counselling is offered to groups, individuals and couples to meet community needs. Connect Society can be reached at 250 860 3181 or by visiting them at 204-347 Leon Avenue, Kelowna.
- 3.5 minute guided meditation
- 4.0 minute sleep music
- 30 minute sleep music
- Spanish guitar music–a nice interlude from studying
- 9 minutes music/mediation for beginners
- general information and links to meditation
- relaxation tips to relieve stress
- audio guides to boost your mood and relieve anxiety
- breathing exercise to calm panic attacks
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.
This app uses individual tools and tactics to develop healthy long-term habits for dealing with different symptoms and forms of anxiety.
Self-help Anxiety Management
Using clinical-based evidence, this app provides a range of self-help methods that work to reduce anxiety.
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.
A problem-solving tool to help deal with emotions and cope with the stresses you encounter both on- and off-campus.
This app provides meditation options that are flexible to the situation you find yourself in.
Using a cognitive based approach, the app utilizes the imagination to help induce sleep.
Home to more than 3,200,000 meditators, Insight Timer is rated as the top free meditation app on the Android and iOS stores.
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.