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. Walk-in appointments are available from 10 a.m. to 4 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.

Kelowna crisis line is available 24/7: 1 888 353 2273.

Other crisis lines:
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.

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 (Sept 2019)

Other resources to  manage your anxiety may include such things as this workbook Your best You Managing Your Anxiety

Groups and workshops

Need a creative break? Join the ARt Hive

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

Tuesdays to Fridays, 11 m to 3 pm, located in the lounge area outside of UNC 337.

For more information contact Health and Wellness.

Please note that the art hive does not operate on Mondays–if you wish to volunteer for the art hive (especially on Monday’s), please contact Health and Wellness.

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:

Information and registration will be held on Tuesday, September 17 & 24

Group session swill be held beginning Thursday evenings in October.

Other groups that are available through the YMCA include the youth mindfulness group.

Lowering anxiety through self-regulation

A 5-week group series will be offered on how to manage anxiety through body awareness and principles of somatic experiencing.

This group series will begin Thursday, September 26, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. in UNC 335.

For more information contact Lois at

Community Wellness for International Students

A drop in group is offered to international students to discuss any topics of interest to students. This group offers an option for student to connect with each other, build relationships and have fun.

The group will be held on Mondays, 5 – 6:30 p.m. in UNC 325A.

For more information contact

CBT for sleep

This group series will offer four weeks of groups on overcoming underlying causes of sleep disturbances, establish healthy sleep patterns, and create useful and personal tools to help you relax and fall asleep.

The series will be held Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8 p.m. beginning September 11, in UNC 335.

Email for registration and further information.

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.

Learn more

Third Space Mind

Third Space offers free professional counselling in conjunction with the UBCSUO. Contact or telephone 236 420 4360 to book an appointment.

Dream Appreciation Group

Are you interested in developing a better understanding of your dreams? Using a group approach (based on Ullman’s dream appreciation model) students, staff and faculty are invited to participate in a group to examine their dreams.

For more information contact Roger Wilson at


UBC O Running Club

Join the UBC-O running club and manage your mental health while you learn to run a 5 km run! This is a ten week mental health program designed for UBC O students to provide a resource and outlines to help manage your mental health through exercise.

More information is available by contacting

Exercise for Physical and Mental Wellness

Health and Wellness is excited to join with UBC Recreation and the Voice Campus Health Project to offer an opportunity to students to enjoy an orientation session with a peer physical activity mentor and 9 free sessions at the Hangar Fitness and Wellness Centre.  Regular exercise benefits both your physical and mental wellness! Please check with Health and Wellness how to access this program.

Adulting 101

The UBC Student Union Okanagan (UBCSUO) is offering a new program called Adulting 101. These are brief informational, educational and fun sessions presented throughout the school year. Contact the student union office for more information.

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).