Getting Help Off Campus

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St James Campus exterior, King Street, with streetcar

The resources listed below are for students residing in Ontario. If you are located outside of Ontario, please visit this Guide for other resources.

Off-Campus Resources

There are many resources in the community to help with mental health counselling, crisis supports, peer supports, medical care and other needs. Learn how external resources can help below by determining the type of support you’d like or need.

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Counselling Services

Contact We Connect

  • For students enrolled in the student health benefits program, We Speak Student, We Connect can provide 24/7 virtual/online and telephone counselling in multiple languages to students worldwide.
  • Contact We Connect by calling 1-888-377-0002 or by visiting their website.

Contact We Speak Student

  • For more information about your student health benefits program.

Contact Stella’s Place

  • Stella's Place provides comprehensive mental health services for 16 to 29-year olds in downtown Toronto.

Contact What’s Up

  • Free virtual mental health counselling for children, youth, young adults and their families is available on a drop-in basis, no appointment is necessary
  • Call Mental Health T.O. at 1-866-585-MHTO (6486) to be connected to a counsellor.

Contact Family Services of Toronto

  • Single session virtual counselling services are available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. by calling 416-595-9618. Counsellors offer a single telephone session. The counselling session is about 50 minutes and is open to all persons 18 years of age and older. As available, a counsellor will return the call between 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily.
  • Single session counselling is available free of charge. Referrals to other services are also available.

Crisis Services

Contact Good 2 Talk

  • A free, 24/7 professional counselling and information telephone service for post-secondary students in Ontario reachable by calling 1-866-925-5454

Contact Gerstein Crisis Centre

  • 24/7 Crisis telephone service, 416-929-5200

Contact Distress Centres of Greater Toronto

  • 24/7 Crisis telephone service 416-408-4357 (HELP)

Contact Crisis Text Line

  • Free, 24/7 support for people in crisis. Text HOME to 686868 in Canada to text with a trained Crisis Responder.

Emergency Housing

Contact City of Toronto Emergency Shelter Central Intake

  • 1-877-338-3398

Frequently Asked Questions about Getting Help in the Community

What kind of counselling help do I need? Do I work with a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker, a counsellor or a psychotherapist? What is the difference?

Psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists and social workers are all regulated professionals who are trained to support people with mental health challenges. There are differences in their training and some of the work they do.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who undergo additional training to specialize in mental illnesses. Psychiatrists can diagnose mental health disorders and prescribe medication. Some psychiatrists also provide counselling or talk therapy, but many focus on diagnosis and medication support.

Psychologists in Ontario have a PhD in psychology. Some psychologists diagnose certain kinds of mental health conditions and some provide psychological testing for things such as learning disorders. Psychologists can also provide counselling or talk therapy. Psychologists cannot prescribe medication.

Social Workers usually have a Master’s degree in social work. They can provide counselling or talk therapy. Most social workers’ training focuses on understanding the role of community and social circumstances on one’s mental health, and they often play a role in connecting individuals to community resources and support networks. Social Workers do not prescribe medication or provide official diagnoses.

Psychotherapists also have a Master’s level degree in counselling. They can provide counselling or talk therapy. Psychotherapists do not prescribe medication or provide official diagnoses.

If you are interested in counselling services, any of these professionals listed above may be able to help you. If you need assistance with a very particular type of issue or require medical support or medication you should select a professional who specializes in the area you need help with. All the counsellors at GBC are Registered Social Workers, Registered Psychotherapists or Registered Psychologists.

Does counselling cost money or are there free services?

Counselling services at GBC are all free of charge for registered students. Many community agencies and hospital programs also provide counselling free of charge or at a low cost. Free mental health services can sometimes have a waiting list for their programs. You can also access counselling services through a mental health professional in the community who provides fee-for-service counselling, which is often called “private practice”. If you are choosing a counsellor in private practice you should ensure that they are properly trained and have a professional designation such as one of those listed above.

How do I get an appointment with a doctor?

To receive medical services, including prescription medication for mental health issues, you can see a family doctor at a walk-in clinic, a hospital, a family health team or other medical practice in the community. A family doctor is also called a general practitioner, and they can provide general medical services such as a check-up, vaccinations, diagnosis of medical conditions, and prescribe most medications. To receive most general medical services, you do not need a referral. You may need a referral to access specialized medical care, such as a psychiatrist, for more complex medical conditions. A family doctor can refer you to a specialist.

To receive medical services you will need either a valid provincial health card (in Ontario this is called OHIP), some form of health insurance (at GBC this is available through We Speak Student), or pay directly for the care you receive. You should find out from the doctor ahead of time if your health insurance covers the services you are going to receive.