Feds VP Internal Maaz Yasin published a tweet on April 12 suggesting that ‘fast,’ ‘safe,’ and ‘secure’ online psychologists and counsellors could soon be a service available to UW students.</p>
Student Care, a Canada-wide student health plan organization is working with Feds to bring this new program to Waterloo, with no additional fees or increase to the student health and dental plan. The program, which has been ongoing for two years, allows students to build fast and completely secure connections with psychologists and counsellors from all over the country.
Former Feds president Danielle Burt, who made mental health a top priority during her term, said, “Student Care came up with this concept because other schools charge these services to a student’s health plan. They don’t offer an ongoing talk-therapy service for students at this low of a cost.”
So far, Student Care has been successful in running trials of the program at other post-secondary institutions across Canada, which is why Feds decided to bring the service to UW.
“Our health plan covers 80 per cent of the service, which is about $400 a year. If you were to go over that $400, you’d have to pay those additional fees unless you had access to any ulterior plans. But 20 per cent of a counselor’s fee is quite cheap compared to other services,” Burt said.
“The way the program works is, in its simplest form, a video chat with a psychologist at any point in time and that same psychologist repeated for any number of sessions you may require. It’s basically like any other counselling service except there’s no wait and it’s 24-7. The only difference is they’re not physically in front of you.”
Feds plans to debut the program on a trial basis with a soft-launch in the spring and then widely promoted in the fall.
“I’m very excited about this initiative,” Burt said. “I’ve been researching different health plans to see who offered the best and I can say with confidence that this is the best. It’s very convenient that it’s our own health and dental plan that’s running this because it means we already have an established relationship with them.”