Wellness Wednesday – Good2Talk

The Teacher Education Wellness Committee (TEWC), established Fall 2018, seeks to improve wellness for all teacher candidates, faculty and staff.

Come back every Wednesday for more ideas on making wellness central!

Have your say! Submit your ideas online here.

This week’s Expert Contributor:

Megan Van Massenhoven, Outreach Manager, Good2Talk

Good2Talk Post-Secondary Student Helpline

What is Good2Talk?

Van Massenhoven: Good2Talk is a free, confidential helpline for post-secondary students in Ontario, including Teacher Candidates. By calling Good2Talk, students can receive information and referrals about services and supports for mental health, addictions and well-being on and off campus or speak anonymously with a professional counsellor.

What does “confidential” really mean?

Van Massenhoven: Good2Talk is 100% confidential – you don’t have to provide any identifying information. We may ask for your postal code or the school you are attending in order to find you services or supports you may want to access. However, you are always in control of the information you choose to provide to us. The only time anyone else will know you have called Good2Talk is if there is imminent risk of harm to yourself or others and we have identifying information (such as your name and address). In that case, we have a duty to report and are required by law to contact the police or other authorities.

Who can call Good2Talk?

Van Massenhoven: Good2Talk serves post-secondary students in the province of Ontario.

Does Good2Talk have an age limit?

Van Massenhoven: Good2Talk is geared towards supporting students aged 17 to 25 who comprise the majority of the province’s post-secondary students. Helpline staff are trained and have experience with the challenges faced by students in this age range. However, Good2Talk recognizes the need for mental health supports for students who are over the age of 25. For this reason, Good2Talk will not deny service to any student, regardless of age, however calls from students who are 25+ will focus on a needs assessment and referral to appropriate resource if it is outside of Good2Talk’s ability to support the caller.

Can I call if I have recently graduated post-secondary?

Van Massenhoven: Callers who have recently graduated from post-secondary may be transitioning out of on-campus services that were previously available to them. While Good2Talk can only provide counselling to current students, recent graduates may call to request a referral to local services they can access without being a student.

If I call, will it show up on my phone bill?

Van Massenhoven: It depends. If you call from a cell phone, the number may show up on your bill. Even though we’re committed to providing confidential service, cell phone service providers bill their customers in different ways which sometimes may include showing dialed phone numbers. Keep in mind that our number will not show up on your bill if you call us using a land line. You could also consider using a pay phone if you’re worried about this.

Who is answering the phone and what are their qualifications?

Van Massenhoven: Good2Talk is a bilingual phone service staffed by qualified, paid professionals with education, professional experience and specialized training in either counselling or information and referral. Counsellors are required to have degrees in a relevant discipline (e.g. psychology or social work), a minimum of three years’ applicable work experience in social services and experience in telephone counselling and crisis intervention. Information and Referral Specialists must have a minimum of three years’ experience in the health/human services field and a degree in a relevant discipline and are certified as Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) professionals. All helpline staff have Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).

I’d like to work for Good2Talk. Are you hiring?

Van Massenhoven: Good2Talk is a partnership between four organizations: ConnexOntario, Kids Help Phone, Ontario 211 and the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health. At this time, the four organizations that have partnered to create Good2Talk will post any vacancies they have on their individual organization websites. Please note: Good2Talk helpline staff are paid professionals and we do not offer volunteer opportunities providing support on the helpline. If you are currently a post-secondary student in Ontario and are passionate about mental health on campus, please see the “Get Involved!” page for information on becoming part of our Good2Talk student network.

As a teacher/teacher candidate, can I recommend my K-12 students call Good2Talk if they need someone to talk to?

Van Massenhoven:  Students who are not yet in post-secondary can contact our partner organization Kids Help Phone. They offer professional counselling, information and referrals in both English and French. Youth can connect with Kids Help Phone by phone, text, mobile app or through Live Chat, 24/7. They also offer a variety of resources for caring adults.

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