Welcome to TalkSpot!
Sometimes you just need a safe spot to talk.
Talking about what’s on your mind can help you:
- spot the problem
- spot skills & solutions
- spot campus and community supports
What is TalkSpot?
TalkSpot is a mental health service exclusively for Mac Eng students. TalkSpot offers informal, confidential consultations with a counsellor through drop-in hours every weekday from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. You can share what’s on your mind to get perspective, problem-solve and hear suggestions for resources or supports.
What you share with the TalkSpot counsellor is completely confidential and will not be shared with faculty, staff, friends or family.
TalkSpot counselling visits are:
- Available to all undergraduate and graduate students within the Faculty of Engineering
- Offered first-come, first-served with no waitlist or intake assessment
- Typically 30-45 minutes in length
- Not a substitute for long-term or ongoing psychotherapy
- Not appropriate for urgent concerns or mental health emergencies
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Monday to Friday, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
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How to Book
Drop-In appointments can be booked same-day on a ‘first come first serve’ basis.The online booking system opens at 10 a.m., and appointments are available between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Appointments are offered either in person or virtually for 45 minutes.
TalkSpot Online Booking Site
Navigate to the TalkSpot online book site.
Select a Service Type
Choose between In Person Drop-In or Virtual Drop-In appointments.
TalkSpot is located in JHE H301.
Select a Time
After selecting your appointment type, you will see the available times. If you see “Booked” or “No Availability,” that means no more drop-in times are available that day.
Create an Account
You will be asked to create an account by entering your email address or mobile phone number. Please enter your McMaster email address as phone numbers or other emails will not be accepted.
Once you have created an account, you can confirm your selected appointment time.
You will receive a confirmation email including a link to the TalkSpot Student Agreement form. This form takes about 5-10 minutes to review and submit.
Once submitted, you’re ready for your appointment!
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Meet the TalkSpot Counsellor
Kaely Danahy, OT Reg. (Ont.)
Kaely is an Occupational Therapist and a Mac Grad. She worked for the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington supporting young people with severe and persistent mental illness before returning home to work with McMaster Engineering students. She is a skilled listener passionate about post-secondary student wellness. Kaely’s brother, a Mechanical Engineer, did his undergrad in BTech, so she has a strong appreciation for the Fireball culture of innovation & excellence (but don’t ask her for math homework help–she didn’t inherit those genes!). You can ask her about her very spoiled cat, Tomato, long-distance running, or her unapologetic love for reality TV.
Kaely Danahy, OT Reg. (Ont.)
Phone: 1-905-525-9140 ext. 24646
Office: JHE H301
TalkSpot – Exam Tips
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Feed your brain with BACE
During exam season, it’s important to take care of your brain. Do one thing a day that:
- Moves your Body – this releases endorphins
- Provides a sense of Achievement – this releases dopamine
- Connects you with others – this releases oxytocin
- That you Enjoy – this releases serotonin
Your brain (and your exam grades) will thank you!
Sleep Drive: How to fill your balloon
Imagine a balloon that controls sleep: The more activities you do, the more the balloon fills up. Your best sleep happens when the balloon is ready to burst. During exams, fill your balloon each day by waking at the same time, keeping naps short, and avoiding your bed until it’s time to sleep.
The pomodoro technique
Research shows that motivation grows after we start studying. To speed this up, use the pomodoro technique: Choose a study topic and set a 25-minute timer; ignore all distractions until the timer goes off. When it does, take a 5-minute break. Repeat x4. After the 4th cycle, take a longer break (15–20-minutes).
What does good stress feel like?
Too much stress can be detrimental, but moderate stress can support peak performance. Your pulse quickens, your thoughts are clear, and you may feel excited. When this happens, don’t shy away from the good stress. Tell yourself, “This is going to be hard, but I can do it, let’s go!”
There is a proven link between mindfulness skills, improved physiological stress response, and increased exam performance. Basically, mindfulness means better wellbeing and higher grades. When practiced for as little as 2-3 minutes daily, mindfulness skills can help you before, during, and after exams to keep you grounded, focused, and clear.
TalkSpot – FAQs
TalkSpot is a mental health drop-in service that provides informal, confidential consultations uniquely tailored to the needs of engineering students. The TalkSpot counsellor can help you with specific problems and introduce you to what it’s like to speak with a trained mental health clinician.
You can share what’s on your mind to get perspective, problem-solve and hear suggestions for resources or supports.
This service is open to all undergraduate and graduate students within the Faculty of Engineering. TalkSpot is the best fit for the following people:
- Students who have never been to counselling before, are not sure if it’s right for them and wonder what it’s like to talk with a counsellor
- Students who are not interested in ongoing counselling but would like the perspective of a counsellor
- Students who have a specific problem and would like to talk it through with someone
- Students experiencing academic or personal issues who are not sure whether their challenges warrant professional support
- Students who are interested in learning more about what campus resources are available to them and how to access them
TalkSpot visits are scheduled for 45 minutes and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis through same-day appointments booked using an online booking link. Occasionally when it’s very busy, the TalkSpot counsellor might not have enough time to see everyone. However, there are TalkSpot hours every day, Monday through Friday, so you can try again the next day.
Depending on your preference, your session will take place via videoconference or in a private office with wide, cushioned chairs. The office door has a blind that can be pulled down for privacy. During your session, the TalkSpot counsellor will listen closely to your concerns and provide support, perspective and suggestions for resources.
Counsellors with both TalkSpot and the Student Wellness Centre are trained mental health clinicians from Regulated Health Professions. Some examples of Regulated Health Professions include Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Occupational Therapists, and Registered Nurses. Sometimes the term ‘therapist’ is used instead of counsellor to describe the work they do in mental health settings.
All students at McMaster University can access support through the Student Wellness Centre by scheduling appointments to meet with a counsellor and sometimes participate in ongoing counselling through scheduled weekly or biweekly appointments.
In contrast, TalkSpot is only offered to students within the Faculty of Engineering and is not intended to be a substitute for weekly or biweekly appointments. Rather, it is a convenient drop-in service where students can meet for a one-time appointment with a trained counsellor who is familiar with the unique challenges that students within the faculty can experience. Sometimes, the TalkSpot counsellor may decide that a second appointment would be beneficial to help solve your problem. In this case, the counsellor will schedule this follow-up directly with you.
I think I have a problem that would benefit from counselling, but I don't know anything about counselling. Would going to TalkSpot help me figure out what to do?
Absolutely. The TalkSpot counsellor will talk through your issue with you and help you determine the best way forward.
I think I have a problem that would benefit from counselling, but I still don't know if I should visit the Student Wellness Centre or TalkSpot. What should I do?
There is no wrong answer to this! TalkSpot is a safe, confidential, accessible service that you are welcome to visit through Drop-In hours if you’re ever unsure. If you and the TalkSpot counsellor decide that ongoing counselling is right for you, the counsellor can help make the transition as smooth as possible by phoning ahead together or walking over with you, if you are comfortable.
Absolutely. All co-op students can visit TalkSpot, either in person or virtually, regardless of whether you are on a work term. You can talk about what’s going on to get it off your chest, discuss potential coping strategies and make a plan to move forward. The only limitation is that you must be within the province of Ontario.
I have been experiencing mental health challenges that have impacted my academics and I need to submit an MSAF. Can the TalkSpot counsellor complete my Medical Form?
Due to the brief and informal nature of TalkSpot visits, the TalkSpot counsellor is not able to complete medical documentation for students. However, you can visit TalkSpot if you would like to discuss your mental health challenges and problem-solve how to best submit the appropriate documentation for your needs.
I have an appointment with the Student Wellness Centre a week from now. Can I stop by TalkSpot in the meantime?
If you believe you need to be seen sooner than the appointment you were given, it’s best to call the Student Wellness Centre directly (905-525-9140 ext. 27700) and explain your situation.
I met with a counsellor through Student Wellness. They recommended a referral to a therapist in the community. Can I go to TalkSpot instead?
Since regular counselling visits are not available at TalkSpot, following up with the referral is a good idea. You can ask your counsellor through the Student Wellness Centre for support around how to follow up if you are unsure. If you have done this already and are still feeling intimated by the process of reaching out to a new healthcare provider in the community, you are welcome to make a same-day TalkSpot appointment and you and the TalkSpot counsellor can make the phone call together.