Off-campus therapy alternatives

With prolonged counselling wait times at Ryerson, some students are opting to skip the queue and head to a local clinic for mental health services.

But this can come at a cost. Many off-campus services are not covered under the Greenshield health and dental insurance plan that students pay for in their tuition. Those who opt out of the student insurance plan may not have the services covered under their parents’ plan and have to pay out-of-pocket for these off-campus services.

“Some students immediately enter our system depending on their level of need,” said Dr. Laura Girz, a clinical psychologist at Ryerson’s Centre for Student Development and Counselling (CSDC). “But other students, because of our wait times, will elect to go outside of our system.”

Girz said there are a number of services off-campus that counsellors at Ryerson refer students to, including walk-in clinics and 24-hour phone services. She says Good2Talk is a resource that allows students to speak to a counsellor immediately and anonymously over the phone at 1-866-925-5454.

“We just consider (external resources) one of our options to give students that more immediate resource at times of the year when we’re not going to be able to provide counselling immediately for everyone coming through our doors,” she said.

Students who are eligible for OSAP and who choose to seek care at a clinic outside Ryerson can apply for a $2,000 bursary for the services. “They can use that for counselling, so we’ll provide some external resources in those cases as well,” she said.

Once students are off-campus, the CDCS doesn’t have a way to monitor their experience.

Girz explains, “A part of our move going forward is to try to understand what is happening when we do refer outside our services and students do make that choice and they’d like to go and explore these resources.”

The CDCS is implementing a satisfaction survey to collect information from students about their experiences in these centres.
Ryerson counsellors can refer student patients to various off-campus centres.

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Here’s a brief look at some of the options:

  1. The Toronto Institute for Relational Psychotherapy has therapists that focus on understanding emotion and relationships. Clients can choose to sit down with a student therapist who is in training for $20 per session, or with a recent graduate for $40 per session.

Contact: Visit http://www.tirp-lowcost-therapy.ca/student-therapists

2. The Centre For Interpersonal Relationships is affiliated with various universities including Ryerson. It offers “accessible low-fee psychological treatment and assessment services.” Under this program, sessions can cost from $60 to $80. “The Centre for Interpersonal Relationships we tend to refer to if students have minimal insurance coverage, but have some, because they aren’t quite as cheap,” Girz said. “They’re not really out-of-pocket as much, but they can be really useful for insured students.” They also offer a free half-hour consultation.

Contact: 1-855-779-2347

3. The Gestalt Institute operates a student clinic, which is run by post-graduate students and supervised by the institute’s head of faculty. Each session is $35 and may be covered under some extended health-care plans.

Contact: 416-964-9464

4. The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) Psychoeducational Clinic is based out of the University of Toronto, and provides counselling and psychotherapy services. The clinic also helps train graduate students studying clinical and counselling psychology. According to the clinic’s website, the services are usually provided by those graduate students. Girz said a lot of Ryerson students are referred here, and spaces fill up quickly. For adults, psychotherapy costs $100 per session.
The website states that some insurance plans may cover some of the cost of these services, so be sure to check with your insurance provider.

Contact: 416-978-0654

This article was published in the print edition of The Ryersonian on Dec. 2, 2015.

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