Helping a student through COVID-19

A cartoon squirrel holding an apple with a cartoon owl wearing a uOttawa t-shirt

Everyone plays an important role in supporting students' mental health and wellness.

As staff or faculty, you can still help when students reach out during COVID-19. Here is some key information to help you better understand how to support them.

Quick guide to helping someone in distress

You can support students by continuing to recognize, respond to and refer those around you who need assistance.

RECOGNIZE UNUSUAL BEHAVIOUR

Do you notice any behaviour that may be out of character or unusual for someone? Early intervention plays a key role in supporting mental health challenges.


RESPOND WITH CONCERN AND EMPATHY

Non-judgmental and supportive language includes:
“I have noticed...”
“I am concerned...”
“I hear what you are saying...”
“How can I help you to...”


REFER THE PERSON TO AVAILABLE RESOURCES

Non-judgmental and supportive language includes:
“What do you need in order to...”
“Can I suggest...”
“uOttawa Wellness website has lots of resources. Let's look at it together...”

Resources available during COVID-19

In the interactions you are having with students, are you noticing any of the following behaviours?

Behaviour that is violent, destructive, harmful, aggressive or threatening to self or others. This is an emergency.

Low mood, avoidance of people, substance use concerns, disorganized thinking, changes in personal appearance and hygiene, expressions of hopelessness, or references to suicide.

Difficulty with studies, family or relationship problems, chronic health conditions, difficulty concentrating, issues with sleep, increased interpersonal conflict.

HIGH RISK
MODERATE RISK
LOW RISK

On-campus
uOttawa Protection Services,
24/7:

613-562-5411

 

Off-campus Emergency Services, 24/7:

911

Good2Talk
Free 24/7/365 bilingual helpline for post-secondary students 
1-866-925-5454
(or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868)

Empower Me
24/7 access to counselling for undergraduates via UOSU
1-844-741-6389

Student Support Program
24/7 access to counselling for graduates via GSAED
1-855-649-8641

uOttawa Counselling Services
Modified services, by phone or online only, for students who are in Ontario
613-562-5200

eMentalHealth.ca
Search engine for mental health services and resources in Canada


For students who are outside Ontario

For information on how to support students who are currently outside the province and outside of the country, consult the pertinent section of the page accessing mental health support online, via telephone or off-campus.

Enjoying Wellness (virtually)

At times of physical distancing, consider inviting students to participate in the new Virtual Wellness Series!

Many virtual activities are offered to students and employees to help maintain physical and mental wellbeing during these challenging times such as online fitness, meditation, and much more. When a role model such as a professor or instructor shares activities like these, it encourages a sense of community or belonging.

And you can enjoy them as well! Consider reconnecting with your students by taking part in these virtual activities yourself and inviting them to join the same session,  they are open to all the uOttawa community.

Tips for supporting both student and faculty wellbeing “virtually”

Consider printing or bookmarking this resource for post-secondary educators from the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health:

The quick guide to helping someone In distress and to helping yourself when in distress is available in different languages:

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