Counselling and Wellness

Wellness and resiliency are key to success and wellbeing in law school and the legal profession.  It is increasingly recognized that it is possible to develop skills in this area. We hope to encourage the development of these skills along with offering mental health and wellness services, both formal and informal, during your time with us here at law school.   

There are a variety of mental health and wellness services available in the event you encounter personal challenges, mental health issues or a crisis. We recognize that it is possible that you may face any range of issues during your legal studies, including housing and financial challenges, the onset or recurrence of a mental health issue, or a crisis situation.

We are keenly aware that personal factors can impact the ability to focus on your legal studies. We are committed to offering services such as counselling, referrals and academic accommodation. Other services include connecting you with suitable services and resources to address your specific concern(s). This webpage is a guide to introduce some of the available mental health and wellness services and resources.

There are two counsellors at the law school who are here to support you: the Equity & Student Success Counsellor and the Mental Health & Wellness Counsellor. These counsellors each have distinct roles and offer distinct services described below.

COUNSELLING AND WELLNESS RESOURCES – AT THE LAW SCHOOL

Equity & Student Success Counsellor

Our Equity and Student Success Counsellor will work with you to help clarify various personal issues and learn strategies that can help you cope with the challenges you are facing in your educational, personal and professional lives in order to promote a successful experience in law school.

Specialized referrals can be made by the Equity & Student Success Counsellor to an appropriate service. Common referrals include those to our Mental Health & Wellness Counsellor, the Member Assistance Program (MAP) program, psychologists/counsellors in private practice and to various community resources. 

To schedule an appointment, please email clawaccess@uottawa.ca.

 

Mental Health & Wellness Counsellor

Our Mental Health and Wellness Counsellor provides a range of mental health services, including assessments, short-term counselling and referrals to specialized and long-term counselling services. The services are provided from a holistic and collaborative approach since our counsellor is a member of the University of Ottawa’s Counselling Services staff.

Services during COVID-19:  Counselling sessions are now offered by teletherapy (audio or videoconference) using your uOttawa Teams account. There are a certain number of appointments reserved per day for “virtual walk-ins” and are scheduled on a first come first serve basis. While this is not a 24/7 crisis service, crisis referrals are available.

To Schedule an appointment, please email couns@uottawa.ca or telephone (613) 562-5200.

 

Wellness Mentor-in-Residence

Orlando Da Silva, LSM, was appointed as our Wellness Mentor-in-Residence in 2019. Orlando is one of the truly great leaders in our profession. During his time as President of the Ontario Bar Association from 2014-15, Orlando made raising awareness about mental health problems in the legal profession his top priority.  He spoke about his own struggles and in so doing encouraged others to come forward and seek help.

As our Wellness Mentor-in-Residence, he will hold office hours each week for Common Law students. As a law student who experienced imposter syndrome, anxiety and depression, he understands the struggles many law students face. Despite these struggles, he has had a successful and deeply meaningful professional and personal life. Orlando is here to help students feel hopeful about their future by sharing what has helped him through difficult times.

To schedule an appointment: Mondays beginning on September 14, 2020, from 11:30-13:00 via Zoom. You may schedule a 20-minute session through The Source (‘Appointments’ tab – under Wellness Mentoring) and a Zoom invitation will follow. 

COUNSELLING RESOURCES - ON CAMPUS

Counselling Services (University of Ottawa)

The University of Ottawa’s Counselling Services provides a range of mental health services at no-cost. The services generally available to you include same day “walk-in” appointments, “single session” appointments, group programs, and referrals to short- and long-term counselling services. Additional specialized services for racialized and Indigenous students are also available.

Since the Law School’s Mental Health and Wellness Counsellor is a member of the Counselling Services staff, when you contact Counselling Services, you will be scheduled with our Mental Health and Wellness Counsellor unless you directly require a specialized service or same day services and our Mental Health and Wellness Counsellor is fully booked or otherwise unavailable.

Service Delivery during COVID-19: Counselling sessions are now offered by teletherapy (audio or videoconference) using your uOttawa Teams account. There are a certain number of appointments reserved per day for “virtual walk-ins” which are scheduled on a first come first serve basis. While this is not a 24/7 crisis service, crisis referrals are available.

To book an appointment, please email couns@uottawa.ca or telephone: 613-562-5200.

 

ByWard Family Health Team (ByWard FHT) - Mental Health Unit

The ByWard Family Health Team (ByWard FHT), comprised of psychiatrists and mental health counsellors, offers mental health services. The counselling services include short-term counselling. These services are available to patients enrolled with a family physician with the ByWard FHT. Services are covered by OHIP.

COUNSELLING RESOURCES – IN THE COMMUNITY

Law Society of Ontario’s Member Assistance Program (MAP)

The MAP is a confidential support and counselling program coordinated by the LSO and funded by the annual fees paid by its members. While it is coordinated by the LSO, the MAP program operates separately to ensure your confidentiality. This service offers short term and long-term counselling along with a range of wellness resources.

Students are invited to self-refer online or telephone 1-855-403-8922 (TTY: 1-866-433-3305).

Cost: No cost to students and their family members.

 

Greenshield’s Empower Me Program

The Empower Me program is a confidential support and counselling program. Services and support include online, telephone (and when health conditions permit: in person) access to consultants, counsellors and life coaches and wellness resources at iAspiria mobile app.

For immediate access: Call the 24/7 helpline at 1-844-741-6389 from anywhere for immediate crisis support.

Book online using the Empower Me website - use "Studentcare" as the password.

Cost: There is no additional cost to you to access this service.

 

Mental Health Practitioners in Private Practice

Your group insurance is provided by Greenshield. This plan includes coverage of mental health practitioners at 80% of the cost of the service with a maximum coverage of $1,500 per policy yearly (2019-2020 year/subject to change). The practitioner must be a psychologist, registered social worker or specified therapist.  You may select an approved type of  practitioner or use a psychologist suggested by Greenshield since they partnered with Psyvitaliti to facilitate access to psychologists with student rates. 

For more information about access to psychologists, visit psyvitaliti.ca or call 1-844-337-2473 ext 0.

The average cost of a private mental health practitioner ranges.  Some practitioners offer student rates.  Average hourly rates in Ottawa for mental health therapists/counsellors: $85- $140 per hour.

The Equity and Student Success Counsellor and the Mental Health and Wellness Counsellor at the law  school, as well as counsellors at Counselling Services, via the single session or walk-in appointment, will provide recommendations to private practitioners and indicate those who offer student rates and specialized services. The self-refer tools below can also be used to locate specialized services.

The use of private practitioners can be helpful if the challenge you are facing requires a specialized mental health service i.e. eating disorders, severe trauma, multiple disorders, addictions, focus on anti-black racism, chronic mental health issues etc.

You can also self-refer to private practitioners:

 

Counsellors Available at Community Agencies

Counsellors and Therapist are also available at Community Counselling Agencies in Ottawa and in your home community.

Services charge ranges but rates are often geared to income. As such, sessions for students may be as little as $10 per session.

The Equity and Student Success Counsellor and the Mental Health and Wellness Counsellor and counsellors at Counselling Services, via the walk-in or single session appointments, will provide referrals to agencies based on what is most suitable for you. You may also wish to self-refer.

SPECIALIZED COUNSELLING SERVICES AND RESOURCES
WELLNESS RESOURCES
  • Just Balance is a support site aimed at promoting the well-being of law students. You will find a wide range of resources to support you during your studies. We invite all law students to familiarize themselves with this essential resource.

 

 

 

  • Online Tools: Counselling Services provides you with informational resources and online tools (books, videos, applications, worksheets, etc.) including their YouTube channel webinars, to help you develop good mental health literacy and support you in your academic and personal journey. You may find the resources here

 

 

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