Maintaining mental health a continuing challenge during pandemic

Jun 02, 2020

Mental health experts are looking to make counselling and therapy services more readily available as the stress of public health restrictions begins to take a toll on residents.

This week, the University of Windsor plans to launch a new student-led counselling service dubbed ‘Caring for our Caregivers.’ The program will see 25 graduate students under careful supervision provide therapy services to healthcare workers from both Windsor Regional and Hotel-Dieu Grace hospitals.

“We know from anecdotal evidence that healthcare workers are suffering from a number of adverse effects like increased depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol use,” says Josee Jarry, a psychology professor at the university.

The 35-year registered psychologist says the program was created to fill the need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea was first proposed by Ph.D. candidate, Sanya Sagar and backed by funds from the university and the WE-Spark Health Institute.

“We have this resource that is kind of untapped which is to use graduate students, who are highly trained in therapy, give them a few supervisors and send them out to take care of people,” says Sagar. “We really need to be taking care of each other at this time.”

The counselling offered out of the university’s Psychological Services and Research Centre will be completely free. Following its initial launch, Jarry hopes to offer the service to the broader public.

“The therapy that people will get from us is really state of the art,” says Jarry. “Our students are so extensively and superbly trained; they’re very well supervised.”

The single sessions will also help students complete their practicum and serve as a research project for the university.