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So, you and your friend were talking and they confided in you that they have some concerns about their mental health. They tell you that they feel sad a lot and are also feeling unmotivated to do their school work and to connect with other friends.
You immediately thought about a free counselling service at WES for Youth Online, that can be accessed independently and virtually. From what you understand, you have to live in Ontario and be between the ages of 13 and 24.
Your friend has some concerns after you describe the service to them and asks you:
Everyone gets stressed out and can feel overwhelmed with their emotions sometimes. Counselling can help you learn healthy ways of coping; it can also help you learn skills to manage responsibilities and find creative solutions to the challenges in your life.
Not if you don’t want them to. Your relationship with your counsellor is confidential and will remain private.
It’s really important to have a support system in your life – this can be made up of all kinds of people – parents, teachers, friends, coaches etc.
Sometimes though, it’s hard for those people to have a neutral position in your life. They may want to see you make certain decisions or have a hard time just listening and not giving ‘advice’.
A counsellor is an objective, non-judgmental individual, that you can openly discuss your thoughts and feelings with. Someone that can be supportive around your feelings and concerns.
Similar to having that neutral person to talk things through with, a counsellor can help you find direction and make decisions about how you might want to move forward in your life. This could involve making choices around school, jobs, relationships or other significant events in your life.
Absolutely, it can be very important and significant in terms of living a healthy and focused life, to work through past trauma. You can discuss any symptoms of trauma you may be experiencing, but also learn, understand and process, your past in a way that helps you move forward into a life that you want for yourself.
Counselling can help you in learning to communicate your needs and desires in relationships, as well as listen to others. It can clarify what expectations you bring into your relationships and help you to understand where it is appropriate to get those needs met. This can include relationships with parents, siblings, partners and friends etc.
Finally, as a result of all of these above mentioned benefits of counselling, you can change and grow as an individual. You can move out of old patterns and ways of being in the world, into possessing a deeper understanding of yourself and what is important to you. This is possible for everyone who chooses it.
We hope that these points will help your friend to decide whether counselling is a good choice for them! Please let them know they can get in touch with WES for Youth Online anytime!
If you are a parent/caregiver looking for services for your child/youth, please refer to our Resources for Parents page.