Mental Wellness

Wellbeing is foundational to meeting your academic goals while at McMaster and we are here to help. It is normal to have difficulty with adjustment. Whether you are far away from your home community, or you are feeling alone within the large university campus, or your course work has you feeling overwhelmed and stressed, we want you to know that what you are feeling is valid. In addition to school-related stress, many students may be experiencing other personal and/or mental health struggles during their time here. At Indigenous Student Services, we normalize the difficulties that university life can bring and encourage students to put their wellbeing first.

About Our Wellness Counsellor

Lissa Lavallee, BSW, MSW, RSW

As the Indigenous Counsellor, Lissa works closely with First Nations, Inuit and Métis students to provide personal counselling, group wellness workshops, therapeutic groups and referrals to other resources. Lissa also coordinates the connection to Elders with the Elders-in-Residence program.

Lissa is Anishnaabe, her home territory is with the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. Lissa is Ojibway, she is well versed in her traditional language, culture and traditional protocols.

Lissa began her educational journey by completing the Native Child and Family Worker program at Cambrian College. She went on to complete her Bachelor of Social Work degree at Laurentian University and then obtained her Master of Social Work with Wilfred Laurier University. Lissa is a registered Social Worker with the Ontario Association of Social Service Workers and Social Workers.

Lissa has been in the field of social work and counselling for more than thirteen years. Lissa has worked in the capacity of a program manager in education, advocate in child welfare, working with women who experienced violence, and teaching at the post secondary level.  Lissa is most passionate about providing wholistic wellness with an Indigenous lens.

Indigenous Student Services

  • Indigenous Student Services – Mental Health and Wellness Counselling
    • Schedule a time to meet with Lissa for individual counselling by calling 905-525-9140 x 27987
    • Drop-in time Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 4:30pm, Fridays by appointment (LR Wilson Hall, 1811)
  • Elder-In-Residence Program
    • Spiritual and cultural support
    • Programs and workshops

“Self-care is very important. Check in with yourself, ask yourself how you’re doing as a whole, what you need to be content, how you can work on taking care of yourself, and then act on it. Do not put your needs last. You can’t make a positive impact without taking care of your own wellness.”

Sonia, Honours Indigenous Studies and Sociology, Level IV

Mental Health and Wellness Resources

For a more complete and up to date listing of all of the Health and Wellbeing supports and programs at McMaster, please visit the Okanagan Charter website.

Crisis Resources

McMaster Mental Health Resources

  • Student Wellness Centre (PGCLL – 210)
    • Student clinic that provides medical appointments, additional counselling services as well as therapeutic groups, Student Wellness Education programs and more
  • MSU Maccess
    • Peer support and programming geared to students who identify with having a disability
  • Joseph’s Youth Wellness
    • Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Youth Wellness Centre is a safe, accessible environment for young people age 17 to 25 to receive expert mental health and substance use care by self-referral
    • Call 905-522-1155 to self-refer or for more information visit St. Joseph’s Youth Wellness Centre
  • Ontario Native Women’s Association
    • ONWA has various support services in the Hamilton area including a “Trauma Informed Worker” who provides crisis and support services, accompaniment, advocacy
    • Call 289-244-8050 to self-refer
  • De Dwa Da Dehs Nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre
    • Full service clinic and community health centre that offers primary care, mental health support, community programs, traditional healing program and more
    • Call 905) 544-4320 or for more information visit the Aboriginal Health Centre website
  • Hamilton Regional Indian Centre
    • Hamilton friendship centre that offers various supportive and community services for urban Indigenous folks
    • Call 905- 548-9593 or for more information visit the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre website
  • Mental Health Counselling through First Nations and Inuit NIHB program
  • Visit Metis Women’s Circle for information on upcoming events and programs