Types of mental health support

Do you need urgent help? Are you in crisis, feeling unsafe, or worried you might hurt yourself or others? If you are experiencing a life-threatening issue, please call 911 or contact the Campus Special Constable Service (519) 888-491 ext. 22222

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A Personal Choice

The choice of treatment approach is personal decision and part of an ongoing conversation between you and your doctor. There are many reasons to seek treatment. Two important reasons are prevention and success.

When left untreated, mental health conditions can become mental illnesses. If that happens, the condition becomes more severe, and can take longer or become more challenging to treat. The sooner individuals seek treatment, the sooner they can start to feel better.

Another important reason to seek treatment is the success rate. While treating mental health concerns is rarely a “quick fix”.  According to the American Psychiatric Association, 75% of people who sought counselling support found it helpful, although some benefit more from a combination of medication and counseling. A growing body of research in mental health consistently reveals new information and options for treating mental health concerns.

How do I know what type of help I need?

Basically, there are three types of support:

  • Urgent care

  • Potentially urgent care

  • Non-urgent care

Information on the most common treatment approaches can be found at the bottom of our Types of Mental Health Practitioners page.

Urgent/Emergency Care is needed when a person feels they are at risk of harming themselves or others. Urgent care usually requires immediate, medical intervention. When urgent care is needed, there are several options:

  • Call 911
  • Call the Special Constable Service (on Waterloo campus only) 519-888-4911
  • If you can do so safely, go to your nearest medical facility (emergency room or walk-in clinic)
  • Call a crisis support line, Counseling Services (students), or the Employee Assistance Program
  • Call Telehealth Ontario Toll Free: 1-877-280-8538, TTY: 1-800-855-0511

Potentially Urgent Care is when a person is when a situation is critical, but not immediately life threatening. In this situation, it is important that the individual receive support  in a timely fashion. Some common indicators are:

  • The struggle is becoming too big to manage or cope, you feel overwhelmed, and it is starting to impact other aspects of your life
  • You feel distress, extreme overwhelm, despair, or are unable to manage or cope, but are NOT at risk of harming yourself or others

Non-urgent Care can be beneficial in a range of situations. Many counsellors say that the best time to receive counselling is before you need it. Non-urgent help can be accessed at any point for almost anything. It is important to know which type on non-urgent help is needed for different situations. Most commonly, non-urgent help is accessed for the following:

  • As a prevention, to help learn skills and strategies that will support you in times of difficulty
  • Things are OK, but you feel they could be better
  • You are struggling, but still managing and coping

There are many types of non-urgent help, ranging from family and friends to several types of mental health professionals. See our Non-Urgent Resources  webpage for a list of resources spanning a variety of concerns.

For additional information, please see our Types of Mental Health Practitioners, and Types of Mental Health Conditions, pages. You can also complete one of the screening tests on our Self-Screening webpage.