University is a time when many students leave home for the first time and are free to explore and experience new things. Accordingly, SFU Health and Counselling Services (HCS) offers free services for all students, in order to make sure that they take care of their mental and sexual health.
Students have an “opportunity to take control of their own health,” Martin Mroz, director of SFU HCS, told The Peak. Without a family doctor present, students can freely inquire about birth control, sexual activity, and mental health without having to worry that their parents might find out.
Being proactive about sexual health is important, because “a lot of things change in university,” said Mroz. Even if not sexually active, students have relationships and are exposed to parties, drugs, and alcohol for the first time. SFU HCS offers education on these subjects.
For students who are already sexually active, it’s important to have regular check-ups. Reports show that STIs have increased in the past decade across Canada and North America.
“There’s still a lot of taboo” when talking about sexually transmitted infections, birth control, and mental health, explained Mroz. SFU HCS offers stigma-free information and counsellors who are clinically certified.
“I think we as a society have become more open about things like nudity, but when you start talking about birth control or STIs, it’s still more awkward with more shame involved,” said Mroz.
There’s a lot of misinformation about healthy relationships and lifestyles in the media, said Tammy Blackwell, manager of clinical health services at SFU. HCS offers better education for SFU students.
Where is Health and Counselling Services located?
Burnaby: MBC 0101, at the bottom of the Maggie Benston Centre
Vancouver: Room 300, across from the SFU bookstore on the bottom floor
Surrey: Room 2534 (counselling only)
How do I book an appointment?
Appointments must be scheduled — no drop-ins. Give HCS a call or go in person to book an appointment. I called, and got an appointment the next day.
How much does an appointment cost?
HCS appointments are covered by MSP and out of province healthcare. They are free to book, but cancellations will cost you.
What can HCS help me with?
There is a wide range of sexual health services and supplies, including: birth control resources and information, pregnancy tests and information on what to do if there’s a bun in the oven, STI testing and education, UTI testing, and “Well-Woman Exams” which can include Pap smears, pelvic exams, blood pressure checks, and breast exams.
Where can I get contraceptives?
SFU Health and Counselling Services has free condoms, and offers NuvaRings and oral contraceptives (the Pill) that must be prescribed by a doctor. The SFSS offers free contraceptives through the Women’s Centre. This includes condoms, lube, flavoured condoms, female condoms, and dental dams.
Does HCS offer vaccinations?
They offer many different vaccinations against hepatitis, HPV, and a range of other illnesses both sexually and non-sexually transmitted.