SAIT Student Development and Counselling Centre can provide comfort to students seeking help for all types of mental health challenges.
The institute offers counselling for students in room AA205 in Heritage Hall, weekdays from 8:30 a.m to 4:15 p.m., or by phoning 403-284-7023.
Educational counsellor Nina Hornjatkevyc says the Counselling Centre is the primary place at SAIT to go if students are feeling even slightly suicidal.
“The counsellors here have specific training to deal with anyone wanting to die by suicide,” said Hornjatkevyc in a recent interview.
Hornjatkevyc said that the resources are on campus in order to be easily accessible to students seeking immediate help.
Not only are there resources available during regular school times, students are also able to contact someone by phone when the centre is closed.
If a student is feeling suicidal, Hornjatkevyc suggests that the best way to provide comfort is to let that person know they are not alone.
“It is not about false hope, but working with someone on real hope,” said Hornjatkevyc.
A student suicide survey by The Globe and Mail newspaper in 2013 found that 90 per cent of students said that they had felt overwhelmed by the amount of work they had to do at some point during that school year.
More than 50 per cent said they felt hopeless and 63 per cent said they felt very lonely.
Hornjatkevyc said it is rare that students want to commit suicide, however, they assume death is the easiest way to escape their problems.
Some people experience shame for thinking about taking their own lives, which results in fewer people coming to seek help.
“It takes a lot of courage to come forward,” said Hornjatkevyc.
SAIT student Erin Day thinks that the Counselling Centre isn’t exposing their resources as much as they should.
“I think that they aren’t putting enough effort into letting students know what their resources are,” said Day.
Day suggested that SAIT should advertise its mental health support by sending out emails and putting up posters with more information for those seeking advice.
It is important for the school to do this, as many students aren’t aware of the school’s current mental health support system.
“I didn’t even know their was one,” said Day.
Students wanting help can also call the counselling centre, at 403-284-7023, anytime.
Outside of centre office hours, callers can press #1 on their phone and be redirected to the Community Resource Team, which can help. The team can also be contacted directly, at 403-299-9699.
After 11 p.m., those calling the counselling centre will be redirected to someone at the Calgary Distress Centre, by pressing #2 on their phone. The distress centre line is answered 24 hours a day.