There are many ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has strained our relationships and caused emotional and financial stresses. But few will seek help and prioritize their mental health, perhaps because of the busyness of life, financial constraints, or because of the belief that their issues are not important.
The Tyndale Wellness Centre exists for this purpose—to support individuals, couples and families through counselling and therapy and to help them along on their journey through life. Services address mental, emotional, social, relational and spiritual well-being, with plans to expand into additional areas of care.
“Psalm 139 reminds us that the Lord made us wonderfully complex and we are this whole human being,” says Wilma Nevers, Director of the Tyndale Wellness Centre. “And if one thing goes wrong, it has an effect on the rest of our lives.
“So, we’re encouraging students and our community to get themselves well. It will impact not only their inner being but all their relationships as well, and how they lead, how they do on assignments, their ability to get a good job afterward, and so on.”
Beginning in May 2021, a merger between the Tyndale Counselling Centre (founded in 1996) and the Family Life Centre (founded in 2015) started to take shape.
“Over the years, we worked together really closely, collaborating on everything and sharing the same space, equipment, clinical and administrative tools,” explains Wilma, who has served in leadership at both centres since 2015. “We were overlapping in some areas and saw the benefits of collaborating to provide a more unified service.”
Although students and other clients can expect much of the same at the Tyndale Wellness Centre, in terms of access to wellness practitioners, reliability and service, where they may find differences is with the process. “More things have been automated to ensure privacy of personal health information, for example, and also for efficiency.”
In the 2020-2021 academic year, 343 students and 368 community clients accessed therapy services at Tyndale University. For the 2021-2022 academic year, there are 34 Wellness Practitioners available to help who come from diverse backgrounds, including Canadian, Middle Eastern, Chinese, European, Caribbean, Korean and other cultures. Practitioners provide counselling and therapy in different languages, including English, French, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin and Korean. They are adherents of the Christian faith and are sensitive to the spiritual and cultural traditions of the clients who seek their support.
“What’s unique about the Centre is that we have a psychiatry clinic and our clients can have access via referrals from their therapist and medical doctor to the practitioners,” says Wilma. “All our clients get service from a practitioner within three months, whereas many individuals who try to access psychiatric services elsewhere sometimes wait up to a year.”
Full-time Tyndale students are eligible to receive up to 10 therapy sessions with a qualified Wellness Practitioner, free of charge, during each academic year (Sept. 1 – Aug. 31) during any semester in which they are taking three or more courses. After the 10 free sessions, further sessions are available for $15 per session. Fees for part-time Tyndale students range between $25 and $35 per session, based on the student's enrollment. Therapy sessions typically are 50 minutes in length.
Clients from the wider community have access to “Wellness Services for Community Clients,” where they can directly contact the practitioner they choose to work with.