By Eula Mengullo, November 30 2022—
Seeking academic and mental wellness support for students can be challenging. Aside from the cost of services, the stigma surrounding mental health can often discourage students from wanting to access the services that they need.
Eunice Mingollo, a psychology master’s student and University of Calgary alumna discusses the partnership between Heart Body Mind Psychological and Assessment Services and MyLearningCoach.ca to offer free counselling services and mental health support to students.
“It’s a free counselling service program between my practicum site [Heart Body Mind] and MyLearningCoach, [which] is an organization that provides academic support and grant funding support to students,” said Mingollo.
As a graduate intern therapist, Mingollo offers services to students within Alberta and the Yukon territory both in English and Tagalog. Another graduate intern therapist also provides support to students nationwide.
Speaking about the inspiration behind this initiative, Mingollo discussed the many roadblocks that can hinder students from seeking help.
Her own experience with mental health has made her recognize how the ongoing stigma surrounding counselling and seeking mental health assistance can often discourage individuals from asking for help, even when they know they should.
“Unfortunately, mental health and seeking support, seeking help, is still very stigmatized in our society,” said Mingollo. “You always think about [ the mindset of] ‘what will my peers think if I seek help, especially if they see me just entering a building that’s providing those services.’”
Other barriers include affordability, considering the financial strains that are already imposed on students.
“Other [barriers] include financial barriers, as post-secondary students are already tight on money, so they can’t really afford to pay for services that are provided outside of the university,” said Mingollo. “This is unfortunate because some people can’t afford those services, but they need those services right away. So what do you do in those instances?”
“That’s why we created this program. To reduce barriers and to just let people know that we’re willing, and we’re welcoming of anyone,” she continued.
The graduate intern therapists and their supervisors are also members of the Skipping Stone Trans Affirming Network. This network allows for the creation of a space that is safe, welcoming, respectful and inclusive of trans and gender-diverse individuals. Membership in the network further advances efforts in reducing barriers to mental health services.
To learn more about MyLearningCoach and the academic support provided, students are encouraged to visit their website. For more information on the free counselling and mental health support program, students can visit and book appointments through the Heart Body Mind website.