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Health and Wellness: Sitting Down with Counsellor Muge

Written by Alexander College in Staff Feature on August 23, 2023

Have you ever felt sad, lonely, or stressed? Just like our physical health, our mental health is equally important, even if it’s not something that is always visible.

Regardless of circumstances, knowing there is someone you can talk to regarding mental wellbeing is always a good thing to have. Our Health and Wellness Counsellor Muge is always willing to lend an ear to students who need it.

We understand talking to someone about mental health may be a daunting task, so we sat down with Muge to get to know her better and get their thoughts on the importance of mental health.

Originally from Turkey, Muge is a Clinical Counselor with a PhD in Counseling Psychology. With over 25 years of experience working in the field, she enjoys helping students from all walks of life grow and improve.

Outside of work, she is a proud cat parent despite her allergies.

Health and Wellness office

*Some quotes have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Tell me a little bit about Health and Wellness. What is a service you offer that students don’t really know about?

At Health and Wellness, we mostly offer counselling sessions. We are offer 10 sessions of free counseling to the students but if they need more, we provide the service to them.

Muge presenting in a classroom

It’s not a therapy session or group therapy or anything like that. It’s just to help people make friends and just have people to talk to because sometimes people can feel really lonely and it’s hard making friends coming to a new country and new college.

Some people may not have had experience with Health and Wellness or talking to a counsellor. What is your advice for those people?

For students, the first interaction with us starts with orientation. During our presentations, they get to know about us who we are and what we do. We emphasize that no information is shared with anyone because some students are concerned that IRCC will learn about this and affect their PR, that kind of thing. This is not true.

Our door is always open and students hesitate to come in sometimes but when they come in, they say they are glad to make this appointment to come and meet us.

Muge presenting in a classroom

As you mentioned, some countries and cultures still have stigma around mental health. What are your thoughts on removing some of that stigma?

When clients come here, we appreciate their courage to be here. It’s not easy to talk about yourself, so actually, it is a strength to come here.

It’s a strength to be self aware that there’s something going on. We try to emphasize this aspect.

It’s not a weakness, it’s a strength to come to see a counsellor.

What is something you wish you knew as a student?

students outside the Health and Wellness office

Actually during my education, we don’t have such services. So yes, there are more opportunities that the students actually should use.

I don’t think they are promoted enough. It should be promoted on a regular basis, like every two months because during course registration, you are too busy to picking up your courses and then before exams, you are too busy. The timing is very important.

What are like additional things you want readers to know about you or Health and Wellness in general?

Students should come and meet us at least once. Check the website, what the services that are offered and please use them. We don’t criticize and we’re non judgmental.

Just drop by for a chat, have a cup of coffee with us and learn more about who we are!

Want to talk? Make an appointment with a Counsellor today or learn more about self help resources.

Alexander College acknowledges that the land on which we usually gather is the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in this territory.

Alexander College acknowledges that the land on which we usually gather is the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in this territory.