Counselling Services

Student completing paperwork

We offer free and confidential counselling services to all Olds College students. College can be one of the best times of your life, but also one of the most stressful. Students often find themselves challenged both personally and academically. Through individual counselling, workshops, and online wellness programs, we are here to help. Our commitment is to help you improve your personal, social, and academic well-being using a short-term therapy model.

We help students manage:

  • stress and anxiety
  • depression
  • relationship issues
  • grief and loss
  • adjusting to the demands of student life
  • substance misuse
  • trauma and other mental health concerns

Free Online Resources

We are happy to offer both students and staff access to these great online wellness resources. Sometimes it can be easier to chat with someone anonymously about what is bothering you, and sometimes you need support at all hours of the day. All of the resources below are here to offer extra support as you navigate life at college.

WellTrack

WellTrack delivers interactive therapy to students, faculty, and staff through a computer, tablet, or smartphone. WellTrack also features other helpful tools like thought diaries, activity schedulers and progressive muscle relaxation exercises.

  1. All you have to do is log in to WellTrack, by clicking here.

  2. Take a brief survey to identify your needs. A customized course of therapy will be provided to you.

  3. Twice a day you will get prompted to engage with WellTrack to assess your mood.


BreathingRoom

BreathingRoom is a transformational, evidence-based, award-winning, e-mental health program designed to build resilience in youth and young adults. BreathingRoom offers new ways to rebound from setbacks and to better manage symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety while strengthening coping strategies

  1. Log in with password OldsCollege1913 to explore this interactive program. Click here to begin.


7 Cups

7 Cups of Tea is an on-demand emotional health and wellbeing service. Anyone who wants to talk about whatever is on their mind can quickly reach out to a trained, compassionate listener through the 7 Cups network. There are hundreds of listeners who come from all walks of life and have diverse experiences, ready to listen 24/7.

  1. Click here and log in with password OLDSCOLLEGE now if you need to talk to someone


The Free Mindfulness Project

Access a varied collection of free guided meditation downloads at http://www.freemindfulness.org/download. The guided relaxations can help you to de-stress and reduce anxiety.

When listening to the recordings, find a place that is safe and quiet. You can practice relaxation and mindfulness exercises while sitting or lying down. Listening to relaxation scripts should not be done in situations requiring alertness and responsiveness (e.g. while driving a car or operating heavy machinery).

While relaxation techniques have many beneficial effects, they are not a substitute for appropriate medical attention. The relaxation scripts offered on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness.

What is counselling and how can it help me?

Counselling is a process that helps you use your own and other resources to address problems that are getting in the way of your well-being. You will work collaboratively with your counsellor to identify and work towards your goals. Through the counselling process, you can develop a better understanding of yourself, including patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours and the ways in which these patterns may have become problematic in your life.

The counselling process can help to facilitate self-knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth, and the optimal development of personal resources. Counselling may be concerned with:

  • addressing and resolving specific problems
  • making decisions
  • coping with crisis
  • developing personal insights and knowledge
  • working through feelings of inner conflict
  • improving relationships with others

The counsellor’s role is to facilitate the client's work in ways that respect the client's values, personal resources, and capacity for self-determination.

Who can benefit from counselling?

Counselling can be helpful for anyone who is going through a hard time or has emotional problems they can’t sort out on their own, including

  • managing stress
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • relationship problems
  • loss and grief
  • poor self-esteem
  • suicidal thoughts
  • loneliness

College students are often dealing with added concerns such as homesickness, adjustment to college, test anxiety, and academic pressures.

How do I know if I should seek counselling?

If you feel you need help addressing an emotional, social, or behavioural problem, it may be appropriate to seek counselling. Some students may be concerned that their difficulties are too insignificant to warrant counselling, or that their problem has no solution. Counselling is a good place to discuss these questions in a confidential and non-judgmental environment. In all cases, we will do our best to assist you in exploring your concerns or guide you to alternate resources should a referral be appropriate.

Who will know I am coming in for counselling?

Unless you choose to let others know that you are coming to counselling, no one will know. Your counsellor cannot and will not disclose whether or not you have made or kept a counselling appointment. Your counsellor will maintain strict confidentiality about your involvement in counselling. If you choose to allow your counsellor to share any information about you, your written consent must be provided.

Please be informed that mental health professionals are legally entitled to break confidentiality under the following circumstances:

  • Serious risk of suicide or harm to you or others
  • Ongoing abuse or neglect of a child or dependent adult
  • Subpoena of your file or required testimony by a court of law
What is anxiety? What are the signs?

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure. Anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful, new, or intimidating situations. However, anxiety that is intense or chronic can interfere with your ability to function well. The excessive mental energy used by worrying can decrease your enjoyment of life, your participation in activities and your ability to do well at school or work.

Signs of anxiety include: 

  • Frequently worrying about things that are unlikely to happen or that you have no control over
  • Feeling on edge a lot of the time
  • Tense, tight muscles
  • Restlessness, shakiness, trembling
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, stomach aches, diarrhea, headaches
  • Sleep problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Stiff neck and shoulders
  • Avoidance of situations
  • Specific fears that interfere with daily life

The counsellors frequently works with students who are learning to manage their stress and worry.  Anxiety is one of the most common reasons for college students to seek counselling. While this can be challenging work, the results can be very rewarding.

What is depression? What are the signs?

Most people feel anxious or depressed at times. When difficult life events and situations occur, it is normal to feel sad, lonely, scared and overwhelmed. For many people, these feelings will pass as things improve.

Depression, however, is more than a temporary change in mood; it is a condition in which a person feels discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in general. When a person is depressed these feelings persist and start to interfere with their ability to function. Someone experiencing depression is grappling with feelings of despair over an extended period of time.

Depression is a common disorder and there are many effective treatments. If you suspect you may be depressed, seek help as soon as possible.

Signs of depression can affect many aspects of your life and include:

  • How you feel – sad, hopeless, irritable and/or angry, ashamed, guilty
  • How you think – low confidence, difficulty making decisions, difficulty concentrating and remembering things, wishing you could disappear or die
  • How you act – changes in appetite, amount of sleep and energy, lack of interest in activities, withdrawing from people, neglecting hygiene and appearance, falling behind in school or other activities
What are some coping strategies for depression?
  • Stay connected. When depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate. Even reaching out to close family members and friends can be tough. But social support is absolutely essential to depression recovery. Staying connected to other people and the outside world will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. And if you don’t feel that you have anyone to turn to, it’s never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.

  • Get moving. When depressed, just getting out of bed can seem like a daunting task, let alone working out! But exercise is a powerful depression fighter—and one of the most important tools in your recovery arsenal. Research shows that regular exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving depression symptoms. It also helps prevent relapse once you are well. To get the most benefit, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. This doesn’t have to be all at once—and it’s okay to start small. A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours.

  • Do things that make you feel good. In order to overcome depression, you have to do things that relax and energize you. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning how to better manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

  • Eat a healthy diet. What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones (such as certain meats).

When seeking help for depression our counsellor will listen closely to your concerns while providing empathy, support, encouragement and guidance. Most importantly, they will work with you to develop strategies to better deal with your personal challenges.  Needing additional help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better.