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Dal counselling employs 2 new staff members

Due in large part to the dentistry scandal, the presidency of Dalhousie granted extra funding to Dal’s Counselling Services this semester. As a result, the centre decided to employ two 10-month term psychologists to increase the amount of personal counselling offered to students.

A surplus of students has meant more individuals have needed professional help in dealing with anxiety, distress and mental illness over the past year.

Dalhousie states online that students are offered the “opportunity to resolve problems, improve understanding and learn new skills” through the Health and Wellness services.

Unfortunately, with an increasing amount of students searching for guidance, it is difficult to provide regular services. Some individuals complain it has taken several months to receive a follow-up for an initial consultation.

David Mensink, counsellor, psychologist and president-elect of the Dalhousie Faculty Association, says over the phone that for many people “the Dal dentistry scandal has been a trigger, causing students to re-experience things that were in their past.”

Dal’s personal counselling generally sees an increase of students this time of year. According to Mensink, word of mouth travels throughout the first semester, accumulating in the winter term as students share their involvement in personal counselling with friends.

“It’s an uphill climb after September,” Mensink says. “There’s much less stigma and much more use of the centre.”

The centre has also gone through a change in location, moving to the LeMarchant Place building this September, across from Health Services. Mensink says their proximity might have something to do with the uptick in patients, with Health Services making Couselling Services referrals more readily.

The two hired psychologists, who are ultimately funded by student health fees, will be tasked with looking after the extra work-load caused by the dentistry scandal.

Counselling Services at Dal offers individual therapy, as well as workshops and group programs. Mensink says that at the end of the day the counselling staff exist to improve the wellbeing of all Dal students.

“We’re here to serve every one of them, no distinction. Everyone’s situation is different, but the counselling services are for everyone.”


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