Meet Jessica Arruda, SGS Wellness Counsellor

In the January edition of Gradschool e-news, we announced that SGS has welcomed a second Wellness Counsellor for graduate students at 63 St. George Street.

Meet Jessica Arruda.

Jessica Arruda, SGS Wellness Counsellor

Jessica Arruda, SGS Wellness Counsellor

SGS Wellness Counsellor Jessica Arruda lends new meaning to the phrase “hit the ground running.” She began serving U of T’s graduate community on January 8, 2018, and has already held more than a dozen sessions with students in all stages of their graduate programs.

Jessica comes to her position with extensive knowledge of mental health services across Toronto and the GTA. For over ten years, she has helped youths and young adults manage life transitions, stress, and identity challenges in clinical settings. She is quickly learning about U of T’s campuses and services, and is excited about focusing on the graduate population.

“There is a stigma around mental health services, and seeking support,” Jessica says. “But the process is very straightforward for U of T grad students: you simply book and appointment and explore options.” If needed, Jessica or fellow SGS Wellness Counsellor Sean Martin can make referrals to other services outside the University. Often, however, a handful of one-on-one counselling sessions is exactly what is needed. “Many people find they already have the strengths and resiliency with them,” she explains. “If you are stuck within one pattern of thinking or acting, it’s useful to learn a new skill that will help get you through stressful periods. It can be a matter of rejigging your mindset and the way you think.”

Jessica is flexible in her approach. She keeps a variety of art supplies handy in case some students find it more helpful to doodle or sketch during a session. She has a toolbox of coping strategies ready for students to experiment with. She also encourages students to consider counselling at multiple stages in their graduate career. She explains: “Life—especially in academic programs—is never linear, and students will encounter different levels of stress or challenges as they move through their program.”

Getting support before you feel overwhelmed can help put things into perspective, identify your options, and provide more clarity on the way ahead.

Here’s how to access graduate wellness resources and services at SGS:

  • Graduate Wellness Counselling at 63 St. George Street: Call the Health & Wellness Centre at 416.978.8030 and indicate your interest in receiving counselling as a graduate student. Your initial appointment will include an assessment by a professional, and you’ll be directed to the service that is right for you.
  • Graduate Wellness Workshops at 65 St. George Street: Consult the list of upcoming topics on the SGS websiteTo register, call the Health & Wellness Centre at 416.978.8030 or contact your intake counsellor/clinician. Registration is limited to 15 participants, so be sure to register early. If you have accessibility accommodation needs, please advise during your registration.

Not based on St. George campus? Both U of T Scarborough and U of T Mississauga offer wellness counselling services. Learn more: UTSC and UTM.

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