Oct. 14, 2021Print | PDF
For many Laurier students, returning to classes in-person after more than a year of Zoom calls and social distancing has been a source of much anxiety. Students might feel more self-conscious and nervous about speaking up in class and making new friends. For racialized students, especially, being one of only a few visible minorities in a class can feel isolating or like they’re in the spotlight.
Shevaungh Thomas, Laurier’s newest counsellor in the Wellness Centre, wants students to know that there are many resources available to them, whatever their mental health concern, including drop-in sessions specifically for students who identify as Black and Indigenous or as students of colour and are struggling with returning to campus.
Laurier’s Student Wellness Centres offer crisis intervention and management and remote short-term, goal-directed counselling for a variety of issues, including anxiety and depression, stress management, homesickness, grief, self-esteem and family conflict. Students on both the Waterloo and Brantford campuses can request to meet with a racialized counsellor.
“Sometimes we wait until things get really bad because we’re afraid to talk about it or we feel we can handle things on our own,” says Thomas. “If there’s anything that’s impacting your ability to show up or enjoy your life, seek out help.”
Thomas, a psychotherapist and registered social worker, is passionate about equity, diversity and inclusion and giving back to her community. She works from an anti-oppressive framework and is mindful of the impacts of both historical and present-day discrimination of all kinds, as well as how multidimensional identities impact lives and experiences. Both her training and her lived experiences as a Black immigrant woman shape her compassionate and welcoming approach to therapy.
“I believe in creating a space where my clients feel safe and where they have a sense of belonging. That’s paramount,” she says.
Thomas is a registered social worker, having completed her Master of Social Work at the University of Toronto and her Bachelor of Psychology at the University of West Indies. She is trained in many different modalities and uses an integrative approach with students.
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