With all your other responsibilities in graduate school, it often feels as though there is no time left to look after yourself. With studying, teaching, marking, networking, grant writing, and a dissertation already on your plate, staying well in graduate school may not always make your “To Do” list. Although all your responsibilities as a graduate student are certainly important, the key to your success in graduate school involves making your mental health a priority. Regular mental health “tune ups” will ensure you remain motivated and productive. The following are a list of resources for thriving in graduate school.
Western Crisis and Emergency Contacts
If you need immediate assistance, there are multiple on-campus and London resources.
Student Health Services 519-661-3030
Western offers free individual counselling, including crisis counselling, to all registered students (including those on parental and/or medical leave). Health Services also provides general health care resources including (but not limited to) access to medical notes, birth control information, allergy injections and immunizations, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing.
Sexual Violence Supports 519-661-2111 Ext. 87085
In response to the fact that only 1 in 3 Canadians understand the meaning of sexual consent, Western’s Department of Housing, in partnership with the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children, created the video “Cycling through Consent”.
The Wellness Education Centre (WEC) houses the portfolio of the Sexual Violence Prevention Education Coordinator, Angela Treglia. She is a resource for all Western students who have experienced sexual violence and those individuals supporting survivors of sexual violence. She is also able to provide training and educational workshops centered around sexual violence.
Deciding who to tell, or how much to tell, is the right and choice of the survivor/victim. At Western, a report about sexual assault may be made to Campus Community Police Services and Equity & Human Rights Services.
On top of speaking with the Sexual Violence Prevention Education Coordinator, Campus Community Police, and Equity & Human Rights, students can also seek help from the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centre (8am – 4pm) or 519-646-6100 (Press 0 and ask for the nurse on call) after hours. You can also call the Sexual Assault Centre London’s 24-hour crisis and support line: 519-438-2272.
If you know someone who has experienced sexual violence, there are a number of support services available to them. If someone turns to you for support, encourage them to ask for help.
Student Development Centre (SDC) 519-661-3031
The Student Development Centre (SDC) offers free professional, confidential psychological services for all registered Western students (including those on parental and/or medical leave). The SDC also offers crisis counselling and walk-in single special sessions during exams.
International Student Counselling and Advising 519-661-2111 Ext. 85908
Balancing academic work and self-care can be difficult for any university student, but international students also have the added stress of adapting to a new culture. The International and Exchange Student Centre (IESC) offers free one-on-one counselling for all international students, and also staffs International Student Advisors for addressing general information regarding adapting to life in Canada.
University-Related Counselling 519-661-3573
The Office of the Ombudsperson provides free, impartial, and confidential advice for all students who are experiencing a University-related problem or concern.
Informal Graduate Student Advisor Support 519-661-3394
If you require assistance navigating any disciplinary processes in your program, faculty, or the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS), please contact the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) Executive (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Mental Health and Wellness Resources
There are a number of on- and off-campus resources, online resources, counselling resources, 24-hour crisis services, and services for students living in residence which can be found in Western Student Experience’s Mental Health and Wellness Resource Guide for Undergraduate and Graduate Students.
Studentcare’s Mental Health Services
Studentcare is your Society of Graduate Student Health Plan. Among its multiple services, it also provides you with three mental health services including Mindcheck, Good2talk, and the JED Foundation.
Western’s Health Services
Student Health Services is an appointment based medical clinic for all registered part-time and full-time students at Western and affiliated colleges. Bring your student card and Health card to all appointments. Your use of Health Services is covered by the provincial health care system (OHIP).
London Health Services
For additional services located in London, see this website which offers a variety of services including emergency medical services, walk-in medical clinics, and immunization clinics.
TeleHealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000
This services offers free confidential access to registered nurses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Primary Health Coverage
For International Students (and their dependents)
The University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) is mandatory for all international students. It provides coverage for most doctor and hospital services in Ontario. UHIP is also mandatory for all Permanent Residents (unless you are eligible for OHIP, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan).
The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)
OHIP provides coverage for all doctor and hospital services in Ontario. It is the primary health care coverage for all residents of Ontario.
Non-Ontario Canadian Residents
If you are a Canadian citizen but not a resident of Ontario, you will need to check whether you are sufficiently covered under your home province/territory's plan or if you will need to switch to OHIP.
Supplementary Health Coverage for Graduate Students
The Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) provides a supplementary health and dental plan for all graduate students. Please see the SOGS website for details on opting in/out of the plan. Studentcare's plan offers coverage for prescription drugs, dental and vision care, travel, and a number of other health-related coverage. Studentcare also has a Network of practitioners that offer additional discounts.
The Wellness Education Centre (WEC) 519-661-2111 Ext. 87127
The Wellness Education Centre (WEC) offers a safe, comfortable environment for all Western students to ask questions about and seek resources for staying healthy and well in university.
International Student Wellness
Adjusting to graduate school is one thing, but adjusting to life in another country is something else. This website introduces international students to resources for staying healthy and well in university.
Take Care: Mental Health in Graduate School
Would you like more information about keeping healthy, maintaining stress, and staying well in graduate school at Western? This online interactive module will help you prioritize your self-care and offer you resources tailored to your needs.
My Grad Skills: Mental Health and Well-Being
Would you like more tools to help you manage your well-being in graduate school and during your transition to a career? This online module offers you ways to nurture positive relationships and social support networks, which will help you build a balanced life.
Human Resources: Mental Health Interactive Learning
Western University offers an online 30-minute module for students, staff, and faculty. As a graduate student, you may also be a Teaching Assistant. Having a general understanding of stress, anxiety, depression, mental health, and eating disorders may better help you ensure the wellness of your students. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate confirming your participation in the course.
Mental Health First Aid Training
Western Human Resources offers a Mental Health First Aid certificate program for all staff and faculty. If you are a Teaching Assistant, you are able to enroll in this course. In the course, you will learn how to help someone who shows signs of a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.
Mental Health Advocacy
Active Minds @ UWO is the Western University branch under the national organization that empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking.
Living Well @ Western
Living Well @ Western is a cross-campus initiative designed to encourage and promote a wide variety of physical, cultural, and intellectual activities to improve health and wellness at Western. From yoga, to yoga, to line dancing, to walking paths—there are endless wellness activities at your fingertips. To stay informed about these events, follow Western’s Wellness Calendar.
Healthy Eating Tips
The Wellness Education Centre (WEC) houses a Registered Dietitian, Samantha Gianotti. She is available in UCC 76 (basement) on Tuesdays and Fridays for nutrition counselling, and considers individual needs and medical conditions.
Peer Nutrition Education Program
FRESH (Food Resources and Education for Student Health) began as an initiative led by a team of Master of Science in Foods and Nutrition (MSCFN) graduate students. FRESH is a comprehensive peer nutrition education program designed to spread awareness of healthy eating on campus. They also have a number of healthy eating programs and resources available to all students.
Food Bank for Graduate Teaching Assistants
PSAC 610 Food Support and Resources Committee aids graduate students with a Teaching Assistant position who experience chronic or unexpected financial need that diverts income from their food budget.
London Food Bank
The London Food Bank provides meal options to those in financial need. You will need to bring your student card, one piece of government identification for each family member and proof of income, if any (e.g. paystub, OW/ODSP statement).
All full-time graduate students have access to the Western Student Recreation Centre (WSRC) through the use of their student card. Part-time graduate students may purchase a membership for a low monthly rate. Graduate students also have the option of adding family members (partners and children) onto their memberships at reasonable rates. On top of access to the aquatic facility, fitness centre, gymnasia, training rooms, multi-purpose studies, squash courts, and Wellness Suite, Campus Recreation also offers fitness classes, personal training, massage therapy. It also organizes intramural sports teams.
Graduate school can often be stressful, and this can have an impact on your body. Western offers massage therapy through Health Services, Campus Recreation, and the Fowler Kennedy Clinic. If you are enrolled in the SOGS Extended Health and Dental Plan, part of your massage therapy is covered.
Western’s Purple Bikes is a non-profit cycling co-operative where anyone at Western can access affordable DIY repairs, bicycle rentals, advice, and training.
Medical, Compassionate, or Parental Leave
If you need to apply for a leave absence due to medical, compassionate, or parental grounds, you can do so through the secure Graduate Student Services Portal. As of October 2, 2015, doctoral students may be eligible for a Medical Leave Bursary of up to $5,000 for one term of leave during the full duration of your degree.
Part-Time registration in full-time programs may be granted in exceptional circumstances and only with the approval of the student's graduate department as well as SGPS. For further information, see the SGPS website.