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 Health and Wellness Centre.
This week, meet Kelly Neville from the Wellness unit.
RR: What is your role at the Student Wellness and Counselling Centre?
KN: I am the Wellness and Counselling lead and have been with the centre for 16 years.
As lead, I co-ordinate and manage the wellness, counselling and outreach programs, supervise intern graduate students from the Counselling Psychology Program with the Faculty of Education, and provide sessions to clients.
RR: What are some misconceptions you’ve heard about services in your unit?
KN: One misconception is about the number of sessions the centre offers.
Our services are robust, but sometimes students need more specific, specialized care than we can provide.
We will work with students to find further support, if needed, through the network of health-care organizations we are a part of in the province.
We’ve seen our numbers increase a lot this past year and we want to ensure we service as many students as possible.
RR: What are the top three things people should know about your team at the centre?
KN: To us, wellness and well-being encompasses almost everything we do and feel – movement, self-responsibility and love, eating, feeling and thinking to name a few.
We address many of these areas through virtual, live sessions and some very limited in-person training currently.
We have a few opportunities where students can work at the centre, which I oversee: a co-op position for the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation students, and MUCEP and volunteer positions that help run our wellness programming, like Virtual Oasis and Managing Monday Madness.
We employ Wellness Navigators who see students for initial appointments to help identify which practices or services are best based upon their needs, assisting with community service referrals, short term counselling, helping students with personal and academic achievement and responding to staff and faculty outreach requests to help with distressed students.
RR: How have services/resources changed in your unit due to the pandemic?
KN: We are offering programming virtually through Webex and provide sessions to students living anywhere in Canada.
We also offer some sessions in person depending on provincial alert levels.
RR: How have you cared for your mental health during the pandemic? Any advice for students?
KN: I’ve enjoyed taking walks with my dogs, getting out outdoors and enjoying the fresh air. I’m also taking advantage of this unprecedented time to spend time with my two children who are in grades 11 and 12, which I’ll probably never have the opportunity again.
I encourage all to take this time to connect with family and friends in-person as able or virtually, take up a new hobby or craft, do a manicure and pedicure on yourself, engage in some tidying at home or read a book you haven’t had time to read in the past.