About

Mates is a service focused on supporting student well-being. Our service offers one-on-one peer support appointments for students looking to talk to someone in a confidential space. Our in-person office also has a wellness lounge, where students can drop-by and participate in wellness activities.

Peer Support

Mates has a team of upper-year students available to meet with you and support you through whatever you may be going through! In an appointment our volunteers will listen and offer resources and coping strategies to help you come to a solution that works for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Transitioning to university life
  • Making friends and getting involved
  • Developing self-care habits
  • Implementing time management strategies
  • Improving work and study habits
  • Navigating close relationships
  • Dealing with roommate challenges
  • Getting connected with mental health supports

Our volunteers are trained in supporting students facing academic, social and low-level mental health challenges. If what you are facing is outside of the Mates scope, our volunteers will connect you with alternative on and off-campus resources so that you can get the support you need.

Peer support sessions can be up to an hour and you are welcome to book again with the same volunteer or another volunteer if you are still looking for additional support. In some cases, if we feel Mates is not the best resource for you, we may refer you to alternative resources.

Yes, if you email mates@wusa.ca indicating that you would like an appointment, but are not available during our office hours, we will do our best to set up an alternative appointment time, whether it be in-person or online.

Yes, when you book ahead, the booking page asks if you have any requests about who the volunteer you meet with is, and in that slot you can input what qualities you are looking for in a peer support volunteer. You can also email mates@wusa.ca with inquiries. We can then do our best to match you with a volunteer that is a good fit.

Whether you booked ahead or are dropping in, you can enter our office in SLC 3102, and a peer support volunteer will be there to meet you. The volunteer will then invite you to sit down, and will shut the door for confidentiality purposes. The volunteer will then ask for some identifying information (Your full name, student ID and UW email), for our records. The volunteer will then review our confidentiality policy with you and will start the session.

When you book your appointment, our services coordinator will send you an email confirming your appointment with a link to a Teams meeting. At the time of your appointment, you can join the meeting with the link and a peer support volunteer will meet you on the call. Only you, the volunteer and the service coordinator will have access to the call. You can meet with the volunteer with your camera on or off, whatever you prefer.

Our volunteers are trained in asking questions, and listening to your situation to understand and empathize with what you are going through. Our volunteers can then discuss with you about what you would like to focus on, and work with you to come up with resources, and coping strategies that work for you.

Mates volunteers go through an intensive selection process to ensure that they have the skills and abilities to effectively support students.

Volunteers are then trained on things like communication skills, knowing the limits of their role, problem-solving skills, and how to take a strength-based approach with students. Volunteers also attend a weekly debrief in which they are supported by counselors from UW counselling services.

Everything you talk about in your Mates session will be kept confidential; however, we will have to break confidentiality and connect you to more professional supports in the following scenarios:

  1. If you tell us or if we have reason to believe that you are at risk of harming yourself or others
  2. If there is a safety concern for someone aged 16 or under
  3. Or if you are experiencing abuse from a medical or health care professional

All chats will be discussed during our debrief meetings without disclosing any identifying information about the student, with the purpose of reflecting on and improving the service we provide to you.

 

Peer Support volunteers will be documenting information about all Mates chats in an online contact summary form that will be kept on Microsoft Forms. This data will be kept in a secure Microsoft account that is only accessible to WUSA Mates Coordinators. Any data will be read-only by them and no other individual.

Wellness Lounge

Our lounge is a safe, welcoming space open to all UW undergrad students. Our lounge has board games, craft supplies, school supplies, and fidget toys that you can use. Stop by during our office hours to meet new people on campus, relax, or have a chill place to study.

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Volunteer Opportunities

Each term we hire volunteers to help run our service.

Wellness Lounge volunteers are responsible for running our lounge space by facilitating activities, keeping track of numbers, and interacting with students.

Peer support volunteers hold weekly office hours (minimum two hours weekly) to offer support to students. Peer support volunteers also attend a weekly debrief with the coordinators and representatives from UW counselling services. Peer support volunteers must be in the second year, and have strong interpersonal communication skills.

Executive volunteers work as a team to organize events, implement advocacy and marketing projects and help manage our team of volunteers.

Check-out our Instagram in the third month of the term for applications and further details. Questions about volunteering can also be directed to mates@wusa.ca