This is a guide to using NSCAD University resources, other Halifax university resources, and community supports to best manage and fulfill your own mental health needs.
If you have an urgent mental health issue and are in need of immediate care or assistance, please contact 911.
If you or someone you know is in crisis within Halifax Regional Municipality, you can also contact the Mobile Mental Health Crisis Team at 902-429-8167. This line provides support for people experiencing a mental health crisis. It offers telephone crisis support throughout the HRM, and mobile response to areas served by Halifax Regional Police. A mobile response will be a mental health clinician accompanied by a specially trained plain-clothes police officer in an unmarked vehicle.
If you are looking for a quick point of contact at NSCAD, please reach out to Bill Travis at the Office of Student Experience. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and he is the Disability Resource Coordinator at NSCAD. He can help direct you to resources. You can also call his office at 902.494.8313during office hours on weekdays.
[NSCAD in currently in the process of hiring a new on-site counsellor, so counselling appointments are not currently available.]
To contact the NSCAD Peer Mentors, a group of current NSCAD students with lived experience in navigating university and mental health issues and training in peer support email email@example.com. When NSCAD returns to in-person schooling, the Peer Mentors will have drop-in office hours for peer support. In the meantime you can follow them on Instagram @nscadpeersupport and keep an eye on your student email for virtual programming.
Another useful point of contact is the SUNSCAD office located between the Student Lounge and the Learning Commons in the Duke block. Tara Fleming, our staff person, is available during office hours Tuesday-Thursday, and can answer questions about services available through the Greenshield Health Plan. Our SUNSCAD executives can also help you navigate NSCAD’s resources and other services in Halifax.
For an overview of mental health resources at NSCAD, visit the NSCAD Wellness Page. There you can find information on community resources, how to use the student health clinic at SMU, links to online mental health tools through Healthy Minds NS, the Peer Mentor’s Coping Strategies PDFs, and much more!
As we work with the NSCAD University administration to create better mental health programming and policy, we have created this guide to help you navigate our current services. If there are services that you need access to that you don’t see here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We need student feedback on current services so that we can work to improve them, and we will do our best to direct you to the resources you need in the meantime.
What is mental illness?
Mental illness can refer to a wide variety of mental health concerns, which can affect the way you navigate and function in your everyday life as they impact your mood, thoughts and behaviour.
Mental illnesses include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia and addictive behaviours, and can be associated with sadness, anger, loss of motivation, or changes in your social and emotional patterns. There are many possible symptoms and diagnoses associated with mental illness, and they affect a huge portion of Canada’s population: 1 in 5 Canadians each year are impacted by a mental health concern, according to the CMHA.
If you would like to read more about mental illness in general, a great website to visit is the Canadian Mental Health Association. This page is a good place to start:
How can mental illness affect students at university?
The DSM-5 states that mental illnesses are “usually associated with significant distress in social, occupational, or other important activities.”
University is a stressful time for many students, as it generally involves a change in your routine and workload.
If other aspects of your lifestyle have been uprooted, like leaving your family, friends, and formal city, you are entering a new environment with new stressors! You may have more freedom, the stress of making new friends, a different level of academic stress, and new locations to navigate. All of these new things can be hard and overwhelming to navigate. Don’t worry, this is normal!
How do I know if I need help?
Most students (and humans, in general!) find it beneficial to seek mental health supports at some point. You don’t need to identify as mentally ill to see a counsellor for help!
NSCAD has a counsellor on-site during the Fall and Winter semesters, and they can help you with many concerns you may have, including:
- changes in your mood
- significant life changes and decisions
- academic stress and concerns
- relationship problems and worries
- stress from work
- family problems and homesickness
- general anxiety, sadness or depression
- and/or any concern that has you fretting!
As a general rule, it’s better to seek help sooner than later. Don’t worry if your concerns are not imminent or threatening; it’s usually more helpful to talk to someone while your stress is still at a moderate or manageable level.