Each Wednesday until the end of March, the Gazette is presenting a three-part Q&A series with leaders from the different units at the Student Wellness and Counselling Centre.
This week, meet Dr. Lisa Moores from the Health unit.
RR: What is your role at Student Wellness and Counselling Centre?
LM: I currently hold the roles of clinical faculty lead and assistant professor at the centre.
I first joined the clinical team in 2012. Professionally, I’m a registered psychologist.
RR: What are some misconceptions you’ve heard about services in your unit?
LM: A common myth is that counselling and psychological services are only for serious or chronic mental health or emotional concerns and something of a last resort when we’re in distress.
The mandate of our centre, however, is to support students quite broadly so they can reach their academic potential. Counselling is often most effective when students first get to what I call the “crispy” zone, where distress is emerging but we’re still functioning.
We also encourage students to see counselling as a resource to build life skills and strengths that help prevent mental health concerns down the line.
RR: What are the top three things people should know about your team at the centre?
LM: Faculty in the psychological services stream of the Student Wellness and Counselling Centre are among a small number of experts in the area of post-secondary psychology (clinical practice, supervision and research) across Canada.
We have run a gold-standard accredited training program for doctoral residents in psychology for 30 years. Almost half of our amazing residents have also stayed in this province to work as psychologists after their residency!
I’m proud to lead a team of professionals who are so dedicated to supporting our students and passionate about advocating for investment in post-secondary mental health resources at every opportunity. They really give their all.
Working with students and helping them reach their goals is the most rewarding part of what we do.
RR: How have services/resources changed in your unit due to the pandemic?
LM: The centre adapted to remote service overnight, so fortunately we were able to stay “open” right from the start of the pandemic with virtual sessions.
Understandably, we’ve seen a big increase in demand for services over the year. This fall, we added an online portal that allowed students to request counselling supports more easily.
RR: How have you cared for your mental health during the pandemic? Any advice for students?
LM: I’m a proponent of “bite-sized self-care” and elevating everyday activities with small pleasures, especially during high stress times. I may not have an hour, but I can scrounge five minutes for something that’s just for me, not my To Do list.
Music can be a powerful tool to influence mood. Curate playlists that pick you up, calm you down or help you connect with the courageous social justice activism that has emerged this year.
Eddie Vedder, Tracy Chapman, Leon Bridges and The Beatles have been supporting my COVID mental health. I also remind myself that even as we work to support others, every single one of us is sharing this experience.
My advice to students: Don’t overthink self-care for mental health and what it “should” look like. Just focus on being intentional about making a little space for what nurtures and replenishes you. Be gentle with yourself.
If you’re in a place where things that used to bring you pleasure don’t anymore, check in with us at the centre.