Students who need to seek medical attention from a doctor or nurse, speak with a counselor or require advice about an accessibility issue won’t have to go far come September.
All three services will be combined into one new space at the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre (SWAC) in the new Learning Resource Commons.
It will be conveniently located at the top of the stairs on the second floor of the LRC and opens on June 8.
“It sends a really strong message about the place for well being in our community,” said Meg Houghton, director of Student Access, Wellness and Development at Humber College.
“Students are able to come into our centre, feel safe and feel welcome,” said Vicky DiGiovanni, office manager of Student Access, Wellness and Development.
The model of a “wellness centre” offers a type of “interprofessional collaboration” where staff can work together to provide the most suitable services for a client, said Houghton.
Some students are very confident about what services they need, but others are unaware of what is available, said DiGiovanni.
The front desk will act as a “triage” to distinguish what the student’s needs are and link them up with the most suitable person to help them, she said.
The basis for this new approach is to make it easier for students to access any or all of the health and wellness services, said Houghton.
What may be another added benefit to having all three services in one space is the reduction of stigma issues, she said.
“For whatever reason, it’s less stigmatizing to go and see somebody to get pills for the common cold,” said Houghton. We can say there is no shame in disability and there’s no shame in mental health services until we are blue in the face, but if the person feels stigma, that is still going to be a barrier to service.”
Since everyone will be waiting together in the general waiting room whether they have a cough or need a checkup, it should “have the effect of reducing the stigma for those who are seeking counseling,” said Houghton.
“People knowing you’re in the counseling office isn’t going to be as much of a problem when all of these services are provided together,” said Christina Deveau, 23, Humber third year Public Relations student at Lakeshore. “Who knows what you could be there for?”
Houghton said there would be a similar set up on the Lakeshore campus by 2016 in the new Welcome Centre.
“I’m excited to have not just the services, but have all the student services in one place,” said Deveau. “At Lakeshore campus everything is so spread out, so I think everything needs to be in one location.”