Supporting Student Wellness

Queen鈥檚 Accessibility Services provides support for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who require accommodation and accessibility supports.

Processes for accommodating students and postdoctoral fellows with disabilities and extenuating circumstances can be found in the Wellness section of this website.

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows have access to a variety of counselling services on campus via Student Wellness Services as well as other service providers:

  • Graduate Counsellor: The School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs has an embedded counsellor who provides individual counselling services to graduate students and offers group programs on mental health and wellbeing.
  • Other Specialized Counsellors: Queen鈥檚 Student Wellness Services offers a number of specialized counsellors to support our students. Counsellors include registered psychotherapists, social workers, and psychologists who specialize in working with particular issues or student populations including Eating Disorders, Sexual Violence, Black-identified, LGBT2SQ+, Indigenous, and Cross-cultural/racialized students.
  • General Counsellors: In addition to the graduate specific counsellor and other specialized counsellors, Student Wellness Services offers registered psychotherapists and social workers who are qualified to address issues related to stress, low mood, relationships, academic stress, clinical depression, and/or anxiety disorders.


How to Access Counselling: To book an appointment with any counsellor at Student Wellness Services (SWS), graduate students should call 613-533-2506 and ask to set up an appointment with a counsellor. Students can ask to speak with the graduate specific counsellor, one of the other specialized counsellors, or a general counsellor. All of these appointments are free. Graduate students can also visit the page on the Student Wellness Services website.

Empower Me: Empower Me provides graduate students with free online counselling services 24/7/365 days per year in multiple languages. Graduate students can access Empower Me here.

Office of Support Services & Community Engagement: The Students in Distress section of the CARE support services website contains key information about supporting students in distress.

Green Folder: The Green Folder contains information about identifying and responding to students in distress, as well as contact information for available resources. You are encouraged to print and post the documents for your reference. Access the Green Folder here.

CARE Referral Program: The Queen鈥檚 University CARE referral program helps support students by providing early referral to resources. The program relies on campus community members (supervisors, grad assistants and coordinators, academic advisors, program administrators) to refer students who are facing difficulties, either academically or personally.

Steps to Access CARE

  1. Concern: A faculty or staff member notices a student who is having difficulties or is in distress.
  2. Refer: The faculty or staff member will identify this concern by submitting a CARE Referral The referrals are reviewed by an Intake Coordinator to help identify an appropriate resource
  3. Outreach: The CARE Coordinator will reach out to the student and offer support or referrals to resources to support their success.

All leave options and vacation time policies are described in the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs academic calendar.

Medical Leave: Without prejudice to their academic standing, graduate students may apply for a leave of absence on medical grounds for one term (4 months) and up to a maximum of three terms (12 months). Students are required to send a request for a medical leave of absence in writing to the Director, Admissions and Students Services, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, and must provide documentation from a doctor or health care practitioner to support a medical leave of absence for the duration requested. Students will be registered as inactive for the duration of the approved medical leave. A tuition fee waiver for the period of the medical leave will be granted. It is understood that students on approved medical leave will not undertake academic or research work during the period of leave.

Parental Leave: Though people may deal with family responsibilities differently depending on their unique needs and sources of support, one option available to new parents is maternity/parental leave. Students can change their registration status to "inactive" for up to two terms. Both parents are entitled to parental leave and mothers are entitled to a maternity leave. Leaves are usually taken during the first year of the child's life. A fee waiver for the period of the leave is granted through the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. Please check with any outside funding agency that may be providing awards for any regulations the agency may have regarding leaves.

Leaves, Time-to-Completion, & Funding: A leave that changes a graduate student鈥檚 registration status to "inactive", stops the clock for the period of time for which the leave has been granted. In other words, the terms spent inactive are not counted in the number of terms taken to complete the degree. Eligibility for financial support through the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs will be extended by the period of time taken for the leave since awards from internal sources are suspended during the period of the leave.

Activating Leaves: To initiate a leave complete a Change in Status form (PDF*, 4686 KB) and provide the completed form to the Director, Admissions and Student Services by email or drop it off at the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs on the fourth floor of Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street.

For policies and procedures on harassment and discrimination at Queen鈥檚 visit Harassment and Discrimination on the University Secretariate and Legal Counsel site.

Students can find non-judgemental sexual violence support and advising at Queen鈥檚 Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services. Queen鈥檚 policy on Sexual Violence can be found here.

Students concerned about food security can find Food Access Resources at the Office of Student Affairs.

The SGPS Peer Academic Advisor program is available to help graduate and professional students navigate the complexities of academia during their time at Queen鈥檚. This resource is free and confidential. See the page for more information.