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Mental Health and Wellness for Graduate Students

Graduate students sometimes face unique challenges when it comes to mental health and wellness. Learn what your options are.

My SSP: 24/7 support

uOttawa graduate students have access to a program called "My SSP" (Student Support Program), offered in association with Morneau Shepell, global leaders in mental health support.

What is it?

My SSP is a service that specifically targets students, by using technology to connect those in need to counsellors who understand student life. The program provides access to short-term counselling for personal and emotional issues.

Who can use it?

My SSP is available to all graduate students who subscribe to the GSAÉD health and dental plan (offered through GreenShield Canada).

How does it work?

First contact
  • Phone: You can call 24/7 to 1-855-649-8641.
  • Website or App: Either visit the SSP Website or download the app via the App Store or Google Play. Just type in "University of Ottawa" or "GSAED" to identify your institution.
  • 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.
Help and resources available

After registering, students can choose from a variety of delivery methods to best suit their comfort level and lifestyle.

  • Appointments to work with a counsellor in sessions: over the telephone, over video call, or face to face.
  • Crisis support 24/7, no appointment: via phone and online chat.

What else should I know?

  • No wait. Most appointments for in-person, telephone or video counselling are booked at first outreach if you need more support.
  • No extra cost. Instant access at no additional charge for students enrolled in schools (or in this case, student association) that have signed up for the SSP.
  • 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.
Insurance Coverage Through Your Health Plan

What is the graduate health plan?

All full-time graduate students starting in September are automatically covered under the GSAÉD Health Plan, offered through GreenShield Canada. Part-time graduate students and those starting in January can opt-in. Students can also pay a supplemental premium to cover their spouse or family.

The GreenShield health and dental insurance plan includes coverage for professional health services, prescription drugs, dental care, eye examinations and glasses and travel insurance. This plan is provided to the GSAÉD’s membership through the Canadian Federation of Students’ National Student Health Network.

Can I get reimbursed for psychotherapy through my health plan?

Yes! The GSAED Health Plan allows students to get a reimbursement of $80 per visit to a psychologist up to 700$ (combined with all professional services).

The Psychologist has to be registered and recognized by GreenShield (GSAÉD’s health care provider – this provision can be found on page 8 of the uOttawa GSAÉD benefit booklet).

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).

Other resources on campus

uOttawa Counselling Services

The Counselling Services is one of the primary options for students who want one-on-one (or group) support on campus. They use a stepped-care model, that provides different types of services for different types of needs, including access to online learning resources such as Therapy Assistance Online (or TAO).

Though the Counselling Services prioritize undergraduates, 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 with the Counselling Services for a single session to learn about their options.

Services offered in partnership with UOSU (University of Ottawa Student Union)

Many services offered by UOSU are also available for graduate students, such as the Centre for Students with Disabilities, the Peer Help Centre, The Womxn's Resources Centre, The Pride Centre or the Racialized and Indigenous Students Experience (R.I.S.E).

Find other resources available on campus by visiting our Medical services page or the Other services on campus page.

Off-campus resources
Good2Talk - 24/7 (Bilingual). Good2Talk is a free helpline available to all Ontario college and university students. 1-866-925-5454
Good2Talk logo
The Crisis Text Line is a free text-based helpline that can be used by anyone, in any type of crisis. Text HOME to 686868 from Canada, anytime. No need for a data plan or Internet connection. (For French, just text PARLER to the same number).
Crisis Text Line Logo

The Peer Wellness Chat is peer chat service where students can log in and connect with peer volunteers who are ready to lend an ear and chat. Just go to the Virtual Wellness Lounge and open the chat by clicking on the chat box in the lower right corner (desktop) or make it appear by scrolling down (mobile).

blue square with the words Peer Wellness Chat

Counselling Connect provides free access to a same-day or next-day phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. There is no waiting list.

Before the pandemic, people received free same-day counselling services mainly through community walk-in services. Due to COVID-19, in-office counselling is not possible. But, all their services are open. Caring teams want to help. And, there is a critical need for quick and easy access to counselling.

two Cs interlaced, the words Counselling Connect

Wellness Together Canada was funded by the Government of Canada in response to the unprecedented rise in mental distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People are being challenged like never before due to isolation, physical health concerns, substance use concerns, financial and employment uncertainty, and the emotional dialogue around racial equality. We’re all going through this together, and Wellness Together Canada believes that mental health is a journey, not a destination. Each day, we can take a step for our own wellbeing. Wellness Together Canada is here to support everybody on that journey.

Wellness Together Canada logo
Find more off-campus resources on our dedicated Off-Campus Help page or in the Initiative 1/5 Mental Health Resource Guide.  
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