Want to talk to a counsellor or a mental health specialist?

cartoon moose discussing with cartoon squirrel

The University of Ottawa has many services for those looking to speak to a counsellor or mental health specialist.

The uOttawa Counselling Services is one of the primary options for students who want one-on-one (or group) support on campus. The Counselling Services use a stepped-care model, that provides different types of services for different types of needs. Please refer to the diagram below to learn more about stepped-care.

However, depending on your Faculty (i.e. Law, Medicine) or student status (i.e. student living in residence, student-athlete), you might also have access to other services. Please see the  FAQ below to see what other counselling services you could access.

The stepped-care model: click on an option to learn more

Grey block forming tip of pyramid; text says Pathways to specialized mental health care
 Blue block forming 6th step of pyramid; text says Meet a counsellor, Individual short-term counselling
Purple block forming 5th syep of pyramid; text says Group counselling facilitated by professional counsellors
Teal block forming 4th step of pyramid; text says Develop your skills, Peer-to-peer services and workshops
Green block forming 3rd step of pyramid; text says Self-directed online mental health resources (TAO)
Yellow block forming 2nd step of pyramid; text says Walk-In, Face-to-face single counselling session
Orange block forming base of pyramid; text says Get started, Access to online resources

Meet a counsellor (option 6)

If you think the base options of the stepped-care pyramid are not what you need and you want to talk to a professional counsellor, there are different options. Depending on the Faculty in which you study or your student status, you might have access to different services:

Are you in residence (Housing Services)?

You can book your single session in advance or you can visit 100 Marie-Curie Private on the 4th floor in person and meet with a counsellor the same day through the SASS walk-in services.

Are you an undergraduate student?

Counselling Services at uOttawa

The uOttawa Counselling Services is one of the primary options for students who want in-person support on campus. If you are feeling lost, are facing a problem you don't know how to handle or would just like to talk to someone in a safe place, their team is here to help.  

To meet a professional counsellor, visit their website to see the options available.  

Access to counselling via your Student Health Plan

Empower Me - mental health and wellness assistance program - UOSU

Students subscribing to the University of Ottawa Student Union Student (UOSU) Health Plan automatically have access to Empower Me, a mental health and wellness service that seeks to contribute to a resilient student community.

Empower Me by Studentcare - Logo

Empower Me allows students to connect for free with qualified counsellors, consultants, and life coaches for a variety of issues. The sessions can be delivered in person, by telephone, by video-counselling, or by e-counselling, and the service is available 365/7/24. Call the 24/7 helpline at 1-844-741-6389 from anywhere in North America to be directly connected to a trained counsellor.

The service also offers international numbers for counselling support elsewhere in the world. 

Insurance coverage for counselling

Your UOSU Student Care Health plan also gives you access to up to $1750 per year of counselling, reimbursed at 80%, to see a psychologist, social worker or registered counsellor off-campus. Here is your plan at a glance with more details.

Through the health plan, students can also get access to further cost reduction by consulting a psychologist part of the Studentcare Psychology Network. Learn more here.

To know more about the Health Plan, please visit the Studentcare website.

Are you a graduate student?

Access to counselling via your Student Health Plan

Student Support Program (SSP)

uOttawa Graduate students have access to a program called the Student Support Program (SSP) - for those enrolled in their GSAED Student Health Plan.

Graduate students can call 24/7 to 1-855-649-8641 to speak to a counsellor or make an appointment, or visit the SSP Website (just type in University of Ottawa or GSAED to identify your institution) to access the service via electronic chat or email.

The SSP is completely confidential within the limits of the law, so no one – including your family, friends, or professors – will ever know used the program unless you choose to tell them.

The program provides access to short-term counselling for personal and emotional issues. Students can choose from a variety of delivery methods to best suit their comfort level and lifestyle including:

  • 24/7 on-demand support. Confidential counselling, including crisis support, available night and day via phone and online chat.
  • Make an appointment to work with a counsellor in sessions over the telephone.
  • Virtually meet with a counsellor from home or another private setting. Appointment required
  • First Chat. Instant online chat with a counsellor anytime, anywhere. No appointment required. CHAT now.
  • In-person, face to face sessions (off campus). Appointment required

Insurance coverage for counselling

Your GSAED Health Plan also partly covers visits to a psychologist, up to an annual maximum amount. Visit your association’s page on the GreenShield website to know more (you will need to log in order to see or download your detailed booklet).

If a graduate student would like some initial guidance on where to seek supports and navigation of the services are available in the community they are welcome to make an appointment or come to the SASS Walk-in Clinic for a single session to learn about their options.

Are you an international student?

International students are eligible to the same help as non-international undergraduate and graduate students (uOttawa Counselling Services, student health plans, etc.), so please refer to the undergraduate or graduate information above for those services.

Did you know? Both the undergraduate and graduate student association/union offer complementary support programs available through their student health plans (Empower Me and SSP), and they are are offered in multiple languages.

If you need to use services from the Ontario provincial health system, we remind you that your University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) will protect you from paying for many healthcare services out of your own pocket.

Undergraduate Students

  • International students have access to support by phone 24/7, 365 days a year from 22 countries outside of Canada (see the FAQ for the list of numbers) with Empower Me via your UOSU membership. Videoconferencing is also available upon request after an initial consultation.
  • If you need access from countries other than the countries listed here, simply email: callcenter@optimaglobalhealth.com. Please note that the mobile app is only available for download in Canada.

Graduate Students

  • Via GSAED, graduate students have free access to the Student Support Program 24/7/365 to speak to a counsellor immediately 1-855-649-8641 (from Canada or the United States), or to make an appointment for telephone, e-counselling and other options such as web-based chat.
  • If you need access from other countries, visit the SSP Website (just type in University of Ottawa or GSAÉD to identify your institution) to organise access to the service via electronic chat or email


Are you a law student?

You can access your very own Member Assistance program (MAP) for counselling services and meet with a counsellor within 48hrs.

You can also email couns@uOttawa.ca to book in with a counsellor working directly with the Faculty of Law.

Are you a student in the Faculty of Medicine?

Undergraduate students

Undergraduate medical students can contact the Student Affairs Office by phone at 613-562-5800 x 8136 or by email at medsao@uottawa.ca to connect with counsellors and other resources. 

See their website for more info.

Graduate students, TMM students, residents and faculty

Graduate students, TMM students, residents and faculty can contact the Faculty Wellness Program by phone at 613-562-5800 x 8507 or by email at wellness@uottawa.ca. Residents can access the PARO support line available 24/7 at 1-866-Help-Doc.

International students

International students who have questions can contact the University’s International Office (uointl@uOttawa.ca) and are also reminded that services, such as counselling, are available should they need any assistance.

Other services

Other recommended supports include:

  • your family physician
  • the OMA Physician Health Program (1-800-851-6606)
  • your Employee and Family Assistance Program
  • the Mental Health Crisis lines available 24/7 at 613-722-6914 (in Ottawa) and 1-866-996-0991 (outside Ottawa) Tel-Aide Outaouais 1-800-567-9699
Are you a varsity student-athlete?

You have access to direct mental health support with Anna Abraham, Varsity Mental Health Coordinator and Registered Psychotherapist. You can schedule a session by emailing her at aabraham@uOttawa.ca.

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