New counselling staff hired in response to high demand for services

Ryerson students seeking one-on-one counselling services currently wait over two months for regular sessions with university counsellors.

But Sarah Thompson, clinical co-ordinator at the Centre for Student Development and Counselling (CSDC) says that new staff will arrive on Feb. 6 to help alleviate the wait periods.

Wait times at Ryerson vary based on the level of urgency as well as the type of counselling requested.

Students can wait up to two months for couselling services. (Kyla Dewar/Ryersonian Staff)

Students can wait up to two months for counselling services. (Kyla Dewar/Ryersonian Staff)


Students in need of urgent care are typically given an initial assessment on the same day, but students with less urgent need can wait much longer.

“We are experiencing a temporary increase in wait times for (triage) appointments to one to two weeks,” said Thompson.

“For students generally, wait times are currently two weeks for an initial appointment, which is standard for this time of year.”

Those who seek one-on-one services may have to wait even longer for regular sessions with university counsellors.

After the initial appointment, students who seek ongoing care are put on a secondary waitlist. The wait time for individual counselling is much longer than for group or fee-for-service therapy.

“Students who are safe, and have some existing coping strategies and supports in their lives may wait two months or more if they wish to be seen exclusively in individual therapy on campus,” Thompson says.
There are open and closed group sessions available through the CSDC as quicker alternatives.

Bella Alvarez, a first-year English student, says that hearing how slow the process is deterred her from seeking help.


“I’d been working with a counsellor in high school for stress issues and was told to try and reach out and continue (the counselling) in university,” Alvarez says.

“After I got here, all I heard was what a struggle it was to get help, so I decided against it. … It seems much more stressful to me to have to wait to get help than to just use the skills I’d learned in high school to cope.”


This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on Jan.  28, 2015.

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