We are approaching the end of the term, exams and final papers are upon you, and the days are getting shorter. We all know this can be a stressful time of the year, for students as well as faculty and staff. Compounding this usual stress is the tragic loss of students in the past weeks. My thoughts and heart go out to those most directly affected, but I think all of us are feeling the sadness of losing members of our U of A family.
My first and foremost priority is always the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. If you are struggling, I urge you to reach out to your friends and family, or the many support services available to you on and off campus. Whether you’re looking for help with your classwork or exams, have concerns on a health matter, or could just use some support in dealing with life right now, there are people and services available to help.
On campus, students can access a variety of services:
- Student Success Centre: Here, caring staff offer help for students to deal with everything from final exams to final papers through individual appointments, workshops, and other resources. They are here to support your academic success. studentsuccess.ualberta.ca
- University Wellness Services:
- Health Clinic – Located on the second floor of SUB, this clinic is primarily drop-in and provides a wide variety of professional, friendly, and compassionate medical services to students and staff. http://uofa.ualberta.ca/services/health-centre
- Counselling and Clinical Services – This service offers individual counselling, as well as a series of drop-in workshops on a number of topics, and online resources including an audio relaxation series. http://uofa.ualberta.ca/current-students/counselling/workshops
- Sexual Assault Centre – Trained staff provide a safe and compassionate place on campus where unconditional support, confidentiality, respect, and advocacy are available for those affected by sexual violence. http://uofa.ualberta.ca/current-students/sexual-assault-centre
- Campus Pharmacy – Located in the Bookstore in SUB, this full-service pharmacy provides convenient and professional services to the U of A community.
- Community Social Work Team: This approachable and knowledgeable team can be a great place for students to start with questions or concerns. Their primary focus is on helping students become connected to each other, the campus community, and resources both on and off campus. http://community.ualberta.ca
- Peer Support Centre: Provided by the Students’ Union, the Peer Support Centre provides information, referrals, crisis intervention, and a completely confidential place to talk. su.ualberta.ca/services/psc/
- Residence Services: If you live in residence, remember that your RA can be a support and can help you find other support services you might need. You can also check your residence’s web page for more information. www.residence.ualberta.ca/CurrentResidents/YourResidence.aspx
- Aboriginal Student Services Centre: ASSC honours the indigenous world view of education as a continuous ceremony of learning by respecting and supporting the voices and spirit of the Aboriginal community at the U of A. Students have access to advising, Elder services, and a smudge room. www.aboriginalservices.ualberta.ca
- International Student Services: The staff in ISS are committed to helping international students adjust to life in Canada and providing a supportive environment for international students studying at the U of A.
- Helping Individuals at Risk: If you are concerned that someone you know may be at risk of harming themselves, you can contact the co-ordinator at the Helping Individuals at Risk office for support and guidance. www.disclosure.ualberta.ca/Contact_us.aspx
As it does each year as we near the end of term, the Office of the Dean of Students also has a wide range of activities planned for the coming weeks. Unwind Your Mind is co-ordinated by the Healthy Campus Unit in partnership with U of A Libraries and other U of A student services. The program will bring healthy snacks, free fitness classes, mental health resource stations, and wisdom corners to libraries. This team also brings in our Furry Friends—trained animals certified in pet-assisted therapy—to visit campus thanks to our partnership with Chimo Animal Assisted Wellness and Learning Society.
Of course, students aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this kind of support. Staff and faculty have access to the University Wellness Centre and the University Employee and Family Assistance Program, and a variety of supports from counselling to coaching to financial planning assistance.
As anyone who has ever used these services will tell you, they are professional, caring, and confidential. They have helped many people on campus, and if you're having a hard time, they can help you as well. At the very least, reach out to a friend or colleague. Together we can help each other.
Acting Provost and Vice-President (Academic)