As a non-denominational peer support service, SHEC reaches many different communities within the McMaster community through promoting our four strategic priorities:
- Sexual reproduction and well-being
- Two-Spirit, transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, intersex, asexual+ (2STLGBQIA+) inclusive options for contraception
- STBBI management and prevention
- Pregnancy navigation (pro-choice)
- Supportive relationships
- Consent culture
- Supporting survivors of sexual and gender-based violence
- Empowered bodies
- Prioritizing body neutrality and positive physical sensations
- Individualized choices around food and exercise
- Societal impacts on body image
- Providing support for disordered eating
- Substance use
- Minimizing any undesired effects of substance use (i.e., cannabis, tobacco, opioids, alcohol, etc.) via the harm reduction model
- Mental well-being
- Promoting individualized self-care and coping strategies
- Acknowledging the importance of lived experiences and person-centrism when supporting those with mental health concerns
- Grief and bereavement
- Suicidal ideation
Please connect with us via firstname.lastname@example.org or through our social media accounts.
SHEC is located on the second floor of MUSC, room 202.
The free, confidential and/or anonymous services SHEC offers include:
- Free tangible health supplies (see the tab “Health Supplies”)
- Confidential peer support that can be accessed in-person (in MUSC 202) or online (via chat, video, or phone call — more details are forthcoming and will be released on our social media handles)
- Anonymous and confidential pregnancy testing
- Help navigating resources on- and off-campus
- Lending library and health-related pamphlets
- Private breastfeeding space and parenting supplies
- An ion therapy light
The free health supplies SHEC offers include:
- Safe(r) sex supplies: internal and external condoms, personal lubricants, digit cots, oral barriers (“dental dams”)
- Pregnancy tests (take home or in-person anonymous and confidential testing)
- Menstrual products: pads that range from light to super absorbency, tampons with applicators and tampons without applicators
- Personal health supplies: band-aids, earplugs, and facial tissues
- Parenting and baby items: a bottle warmer, diapers (size 1 to 4), baby wipes, nursing pads, baby lotion, baby wipes, and rash cream
- Substance use harm reduction supplies: Fentanyl contaminate testing strips and drug deactivation bags
If there are any health supplies that SHEC does not currently carry, but that you believe is relevant to the student body, please feel free to email your suggestions to email@example.com!
Free health supplies can also be obtained anonymously online through the following two initiatives that SHEC is a part of:
- Collective Care: Collective Care is a program started by SHEC and WGEN that sends out digital gift cards to help students buy the resources they need. This includes gender-affirming items, parenting and pregnancy items, safe(r) sex and menstrual items, personal care items and much more! Orders can be made through the Microsoft form found on our Linktree at https://linktr.ee/msu_SHEC
- Lockers of Love: Lockers of Love is an initiative by the Food Collective Centre that gives students and community members a confidential method of receiving essential supplies such as non-perishable food items and health supplies. Orders can be made through the Microsoft form found on our Linktree at https://linktr.ee/msu_SHEC
Peer support at MSU SHEC is always 100% free, confidential, and anonymous. Our team of peer support volunteers are trained to provide emotional and practical support, as well as create a safe(r) space while actively acknowledging the reality and validity of one’s emotions and experiences. Volunteers will never pressure a visitor to disclose any personal or sensitive information, but they also welcome students who wish to share more details if that will make for a better or more comfortable experience for the service user.
Virtual Peer Support:
Chat-based peer support is available on a drop-in basis through our Tawk.to warmline during official operational hours. A video or phone call must be booked ahead of time (~36 hours in advance) using our anonymous request form at https://linktr.ee/msu_SHEC.
In-person Peer Support:
Students can drop by our in-person space any time during our service hours, which can be found on our social media handles. Health supplies are placed conveniently at the front of the space near the door– you can grab what you need and go or stay for a chat. Volunteers will be in the space to answer questions and help you access any resources you need. Pregnancy tests can be conducted in the space or taken home. Our light therapy ion light can be used in the backspace as well. Our lending library books can be checked out with the help of a volunteer.
In arranging and participating in a peer support meeting, we will make every effort to maintain your confidentiality. You are welcome to use a non-McMaster e-mail and/or use a pseudonym when requesting peer support through text or call. Additionally, everything you discuss during a peer support meeting will be held in the strictest confidence and no written or electronic records will be kept about the meeting(s). We will do our best to make any possible accommodations to make peer support safe(r) for you, such as meeting in the evening when fewer people are around campus, or any other suggestions you might have.
SHEC has a library consisting of 300+ books, poetry, zines, and more pertaining to a variety of student health topics. McMaster students, staff, and faculty members are welcome to borrow items from our library for academic research or leisure.
SHEC operates as a non-judgemental, entirely confidential service. All volunteers have been trained and agree to maintain your anonymity and confidentiality.
Please note that our peer support volunteers will not engage in any situation that puts them at risk or compromises their own anonymity/confidentiality. Volunteers are only required to disclose about a meeting if:
- A) the volunteer requires a debrief session with a SHEC executive, the SHEC Assistant Director or SHEC Director. No unnecessary or identifying details will be disclosed.
- B) the volunteer believes there is an imminent risk to yourself and/or others.
However, such disclosures will involve sharing the least amount of personal, identifiable information about the meeting as possible.