By Emma Moore
After numerous petitions were created by students concerned for their own mental well-being, Ryerson University gave students the option of a pass or fail grade to ease some of the academic stress. While the pass-fail system requires students to complete the assignments and do well enough to receive a passing grade, it can still be too much. Due to COVID-19, many students are balancing school while also dealing with having their lives uprooted, moving back in with unsupportive families, struggling with isolation and many other obstacles during this unprecedented time.
But there are many resources for support that are available online. While they’re not all substitutes for professional therapy or counselling—they can help to bridge the gap to real help in the meantime. If you are in crisis, please reach out to a crisis line. You can call Crisis Services Canada at any time, or text them from 4 p.m. to midnight.
Phone: (1-833) 456-4566
Text: “START” to 45645
Various different Ryerson student groups and services are offering free services to help students out during this difficult time.
The Centre for Student Development and Counselling (CSDC)
According to an email obtained by The Eye, all group therapy sessions have been cancelled for the rest of the year, and will not be continuing online. The CSDC is no longer physically operating on campus amid the university closures, however they are still open for students to contact virtually. According to the CSDC, current one-on-one clients will continue to receive therapy via phone or video options. New clients have been referred to the keep.meSAFE app for virtual counselling services that began in mid-April.
Phone: (416) 979-5195
Consent Comes First
The office of sexual violence support and education at Ryerson have suspended any in-person events or therapy sessions. But they’re still operating virtually and providing support for survivors. You can shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to chat over Google Hangouts, or to talk over email. They also have an email newsletter you can subscribe to that offers self care tips and advice focused on supporting survivors.
We Heal Together, a healing community care space for Black survivors has been operating via Google Hangouts, and they hosted their first virtual community check-in on March 26. For more details, shoot an email to Cassandra.email@example.com. Note, this space is a closed space specifically for Black folks.
Phone: (416) 979-5000 ext. 3596
The Centre For Safer Sex and Sexual Violence Support (CSSSVS)
CSSSVS is one of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) Equity Service Centres, and they have been offering individual peer support drop in sessions for survivors of sexual violence. Shoot them an email to set up a time to chat via Google Hangouts.
Racialised Students’ Collective (RSC)
RSC is also one of the RSU’s Equity Service Centres that focuses on community wellness for racialized students at Ryerson and works to challenge racism in the Ryerson community. While there are no in-person events occuring for RSC for the foreseeable future, they have shifted some of their services to online. They are hosting virtual community check-ins every Wednesday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for racialized students. For access to link to the virtual hangout session, send them a direct message on Instagram.
The QTBIPOC (Queer Trans Black Indigenous People of Colour) Collective has shifted to virtual meetings as well. They have been holding meetings on Fridays, and are hoping to host art based activities or movie nights! For more details about this, shoot them a message on Instagram.
In addition to services provided by Ryerson University and the RSU, additional online mental health supports are available for use outside of the university. They range from apps, to virtual chat rooms and phone lines, so you have some options for what suits you best. All of these options are free for use.
Good2Talk provides support for post secondary students in Ontario and Nova Scotia by chatting over the phone or texting. They are available at all hours of the day, every day of the year. In Ontario, you can text them with the message “GOOD2TALKON” to be connected to a responder, or give them a call. The average wait time is roughly ten minutes.
Phone: (1-866) 925-5454
Text: “GOOD2TALKON” to 686868
This app was built by young adults, for young adults to give students in Toronto access to peer support and in-app counselling. It is free for use for anyone between the ages of 16 to 29, and you have the option of messaging peers for support, or to receive virtual counselling from one of BeanBagChat’s partner organizations. However, their website says that it is open for use for students in Toronto— during the registration for the app, you will be prompted to provide a postal code.
This support service connects queer youth with people to support and listen to them. You can shoot them a text at 647-694-4275 to chat with a volunteer who can provide peer support. Since volunteers and staff are in the midst of shifting their services due to COVID-19, they are not currently taking phone calls as they no longer have access to their call centre. If you prefer, there are also options to email or chat on their website. Their hours of service fall between 4pm- 9:30pm, and they are available every day except Saturday. The website specifies to expect wait times.
Online therapy is also available for those who want to talk to a therapist from your home. While peer support can be super helpful, sometimes speaking to a therapist can work better for some. However, these therapy options do cost money.
The Shift Collab offers psychotherapy sessions for students at reduced rates, with each session costing $125. They also have options for reduced rates sessions with psychotherapy interns. Before you make that commitment, they give you a free 15-minute consultation phone call with their therapist to determine if they are the right fit for you. You can book a session online through their virtual booking system, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to COVID-19, they are currently only offering video and phone sessions to connect with a therapist.
Book online: shift.janeapp.com
Inkblot therapy is an online therapy resource that connects you with a counsellor through video sessions. They charge $37.50 per 30 minute session and your first session is free. When you sign up, you are prompted to fill out a questionnaire, and then they will try to match you with a counsellor who is best suited to your needs.
Book online: inkblottherapy.com