Counselling service called vital for post-secondary students

By Kyle LaRusic

Sept. 23, 2016

Tom Corcoran has worked in the counselling business for 40-plus years and is on year 11 working with Holland College.

Corcoran has a busy schedule helping students at the Charlottetown campus all the way west to Alberton. (Corcoran retired shortly after this interview.)

Although some days might be slow, others he’ll be with students the entire day, he said.

“A day can go to hell real quickly.”

Corcoran finds the counselling services in schools such as Holland College very important as this is a time in many students’ lives where they’re going through stress every day.

“They spend so much time at school these days. Having someone here to talk to is a really good thing.”

Corcoran recommends anyone having a bad day, or anything else, to come see him to book an appointment.

“I’m not a psychiatrist, but I will do anything I can to help you and make your life easier.”

Keira Jones has suffered from severe depression since Grade 9. The depression traces back as far as elementary.

Although she hasn’t used the therapist at UPEI, she feels it’s a great opportunity for students, she said.

“University is a place filled with anxiety, both socially and academically. It’s great to have someone there willing to help them.”

Treena Smith is the manager of student affairs at UPEI. She helps set up appointments for students with the therapists there. It is very important to have the service at schools, she said

“The ability to talk to somebody is so powerful,” she said. “When I talk to somebody, it makes me feel more calm about the situation I’m in and I think that’s how are students feel when talking to our therapists as well.”

UPEI has three therapists and one psychiatrist for students said Smith.

“Students can make an appointment with all three therapists if they want and choose what one they want best.”

Kiera Mayhew has suffered through depression since Grade 7 and is a strong supporter in therapists on campus.

“Some people living on res might need a therapist, but can’t get to one, but having them on campus gives them a great opportunity.”

She also mentioned how much more convenient it is for students than seeking a therapist elsewhere.

“Waiting lists for therapists on P.E.I. are a year long, but the ones in UPEI only have about a month’s waiting list.”

Keira Jones has been battling mental illness for over four years now and is a strong believer in the importance of counselling services on campus. Kyle LaRusic photo.