Get To Know Your Coverage
By Joshua Miller

Campus mental health and proper access to services is an important issue that is affecting an increasing number of students. In 2014 the National College Health Assessment provided a snapshot of mental health among post-secondary students in Ontario. According to the snapshot, more than 25 per cent had reported feeling so depressed that it was difficult to function, and almost 50 per cent report having felt overwhelming anxiety, both within the last year of when the study was taken. Understanding this, what are universities and colleges such as Centennial College doing to address it in their health coverage to students?

Before diving into mental health coverage provided to domestic students, we must first better understand the overall health coverage that domestic students receive across Centennial College. WeSpeakStudent and Real Campus Services provide healthcare coverage at Centennial College. All domestic students at Centennial College automatically receive coverage under the healthcare plan when they enroll in their program. WeSpeakStudent offers prescription drug, dental, vision, travel coverage, accidental benefits, and extended benefits as well as a student wellness program.

Toni Ellul, services advisor for the CCSAI, explained the health plan and offered some further details about the program.

“Students pay $75 per semester to a maximum $150 and are covered right to the end of August,” Ellul said. “However, a student does have the option of opting out if they have coverage elsewhere.”

Students who do opt out will still be covered under accidental death benefits. Students also have the option of adding dependents to their plan. The deadline for this is the same as the opt-out deadline.

Mental Health Services

Real Campus Services provides mental health services to meet the great demand of students as part of the health plan for domestic students at Centennial College. Real Campus Services is the result of a partnership between WeSpeakStudent, Maple, and Shift:Collab, a provider and educator of mental health services with 60 mental healthcare professionals operating across North America. We caught up with Jordan Axani, Co-Founder and Partner at Shift:Collab, to get details on the company and Real Campus Services coverage.

“All students have access to on-demand therapy sessions, 30-minute therapy sessions only available through the app, and full therapy sessions over the phone or in person,” Axani explained. Services also include career and life coaching, academic, addiction, financial, legal, crisis and various other forms of counselling.

When it comes to accessing those services Shift:Collab has a central care coordination team that can be accessed through the official app, through online or text chat, and finally by calling into their
24/7 call center.

Stigma can be a contributing factor to the issue of accessing mental health services. Axani believes the importance in offering mental health services through the plan is both about meeting the demand of students who need the service but also recognizing that it can be a vulnerable experience to use services at one’s school. By offering these services external to those provided by one’s school provides another outlet for students to comfortably access those services.

When it comes to what students should know about their healthcare coverage, Axani gives three bits of advice:

1.  Be aware of what’s available to you.

2.  There is no such thing as it’s not bad enough to go to counselling.

3.  Don’t be afraid to reach out even if you don’t know what you need. We have a culture around mental health in Canada where we are afraid to reach out unless we know what we need. We have a care team that is there for that.

For more information on WeSpeakStudent, visit or come to your campus’ CCSAI office to speak with a staff member.

For more information on Real Campus Services, visit: