By: Hirra Farooqi
Ryerson students are getting more services in their health and dental plan, now that a new digital counselling service, myWellness, is approved by the RSU board.
The motion was passed with 20 votes in favour of the services, one against, and the rest having abstained.
In this month’s Board of Directors meeting on Sept. 21, Ryerson Students’ Union vice-president of operations, Ali Yousaf presented a motion to provide a platform for digital counselling for students suffering from mental illnesses through myWellness.
This new service will alleviate long wait lines for Ryerson students who need help with mental health issues.
The myWellness campaign is a platform that provides mental health services and advocates the importance of having conversations about mental health on campus. They are now advocating for Ryerson students to have video counselling as a platform in support of fighting stigmas, wait lists, financial issues and accessible needs.
“I think video counselling would help people like myself, who have busy schedules and cannot find other means to counselling,” said Mariam Nouser, a Ryerson student who has suffered with mental health issues and become an advocate for mental health on- and off-campus.
According to Yousaf, the cost for this program would be $1.20 per year for each student. That would be included in the student’s health plan, as an added benefit.
“This project will not only help students who are currently going through the counselling sessions,” said Yousaf. “This will also encourage more students to acquire mental health support who are either hesitant to gain any help or can not afford the counselling sessions.”
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The health and dental plan provided to Ryerson students through the Ryerson Students’ Union and Green Shield insurance agency amounts to $323 paid by each student, per year, through their overall tuition fees.
“Going up to the public could cost you from $100 to $200 for a session,” said myWellness campaign co-ordinator Graham Bull. “We have negotiated that price into $37.50 and complemented it into the plan, so the plan helps decrease the price even further.”
Nouser said that the financial needs for this program are cheap and vital.
“This program is important to me as someone who suffers from mental health issues, as I may not always have the capacity to go in-person to a counselling session, if I get a spot that is.”
The Centre for Student Development and Counselling at Ryerson was unavailable to comment.