Student Wellness Hub FAQ

You've got questions about the Hub? We have answers. 

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How will the Hub be different from existing services?

McGill has been working with students to improve health services, and the Student Wellness Hub will be the culmination of more than two years of work and student consultations.  

Part of the difference will be physical: renovations in the Brown building will also free up space to add more clinical and front-line staff and, by extension, expand our capacity to address students’ needs.

Spaces will also be more welcoming for students coming in for appointments, or just sitting and studying. 

But more importantly, the Hub will be a new way to deliver care to students.

Services will be better integrated and streamlined, so students can access care more quickly and won’t feel like they have to start over when they reach out to a new service. Electronic kiosks will improve the process leading up to standing in front of a health professional, and online booking will be eventually be available to make accessing care more convenient. 

In tandem with Local Wellness Advisors on campus, the new model aims to empower students to be better informed and more in control of their wellness. 

When will the Hub open?

The Hub is scheduled to open in late Spring/early Summer 2019. The initial opening will be part of a trial process during which we’ll gather feedback from students, test the spaces and services, and continue to fine-tune any hiccups that arise.

New health and wellness programming will launch in Fall 2019 when most students return to classes.

Where will Student Health Services, Counselling Services and Psychiatric Services go?

Don’t worry, the services offered by these units will still exist, and they’ll still be in the Brown Building, along with wellness outreach programming and peer supports like Healthy McGill.

Whatever your health concern is, you’ll be able to come to the Hub to get the help you need.

Will I still be able to go directly to Counselling/Psychiatric Services when the Hub opens?

Yes! If you have an appointment with a counsellor or psychiatrist, you won’t have to pass through the Hub Clinic. Instead, you’ll be able to go directly to where you need to be. 

If you're not sure what kind of care would meet your needs, one of the two new Access Advisors at the Hub will be able to guide you.

What is a Local Wellness Advisor (LWA)? What do they do?

LWAs are trained clinicians who are here to orient and connect you with the appropriate resource for your unique situation. LWAs can familiarize you with the host of other health and wellness supports that are available to you on campus. LWAs are now in place in McGill Residences and in the Faculties of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Arts, Education, Engineering, Law, and Music. Five more LWAs will arrive for the Fall Semester.

They will eventually be available for one-on-one appointments with students for single-session interventions.

LWAs are now offering wellness programming tailored to your faculty and are working with departments on wellness awareness, prevention and early intervention!

Sign up for a workshop!

Will services still be free?

Absolutely. All services will continue to be free for regular full-time students. Specific fees or additional costs will be clearly outlined online or communicated to you by staff.

What will the approximate wait times be?

Although we can’t give an accurate estimate until the Hub opens, the goal is to streamline the process and reduce how long students need to wait.

Along with hiring more counsellors, medical professionals and two new Access Advisors, investing in electronic kiosks and introducing a phone tree to reduce waiting times on the phone, we’ve also developed our Collaborative Care model to get you the care you need as soon as possible.  

We recognize that not everyone needs counselling: some students just need a stranger to talk to, or support from peers in the same position as them.

Whatever your needs, both the Virtual and real-world Hub will be there to inform you of and connect you to all the options available to you. 

Are you hiring more staff?

Yes! Renovations in the Brown Building are only a small part of the Student Wellness Hub! We have hired more clinical professionals and front-line staff to increase capacity in all areas. By the time the Hub opens its doors, we will have added around two dozen additional staff members—including three counsellors—to better support our students. 

We’ve also hired 2 new Access Advisors, who are trained medical professionals with backgrounds in mental health who will help students at the Hub connect to the appropriate service. 

Along with adding health care professionals, we have hired seven Local Wellness Advisors, with another five coming in Fall 2019.  The LWAs provide wellness programming and support to students in faculties and units across campus, before they ever need to make an appointment at the Hub.

We also know that counsellors are not the only approach to helping students thrive. We’re also working to help students improve their wellness before they need a clinician’s help. Health promotion through the Healthy Living Annex, support from peers and LWAs across campus, and other new initiatives will widen the menu of options available to our students.

Are light therapy lamps and spin bikes supposed to be an alternative to therapy?

For students with serious mental health concerns, we know that lamps and bikes aren’t enough. Counsellors, psychiatrists and other clinicians are available to support students and connect them with resources outside the university if they need longer-term care. We’re working to reduce wait times and improve access to these services for the students who need them. 

But we also recognize that not all students need therapy. Some students need help de-stressing during exam period or guidance on avoiding procrastination. Some need a trained stranger to talk to anonymously. And yes, some might benefit from quiet time on a bike to work out their anxiety for a while or from a few minutes of light therapy to help beat the winter blues.  

There is no single service or approach that work for everyone. The Wellness Hub aims to improve access to all health and wellness services at McGill, and to improve communication to students about what exactly those services are.  

What has replaced the Eating Disorder Program?

The Eating Disorder Program was discontinued as a separate program in 2018, but professionals who specialize in eating disorders remain on campus, along with a host of programs and events aimed at healthy eating and body positivity. 

Students can make an appointment with a counsellor for psychotherapy, join a group through Counselling, or speak with a health professional, including a dietitian, at Health Services.

Students with eating disorders should also be referred to a psychiatrist for a specialized assessment and to explore ongoing support options.