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McMaster Students Union

SHEC

The MSU Student Health Education Centre (SHEC) is a peer-run health advocacy, information and resource connection service for McMaster University students. SHEC employs a broad definition of the term “health”; recognizing that wellbeing looks and feels different to each person. Our service provides free health supplies, referrals, and educational materials, and functions entirely as a peer-run service. As the MSU’s only non-denominational peer support service, SHEC reaches many different communities within the McMaster community through promoting our four strategic priorities: sexual reproduction and wellbeing, empowered bodies, substance use and mental wellbeing. SHEC focuses on engaging with students about health-related issues through peer support, events, and campaigns.

Expandable List

The FREE services we offer include

  • Confidential peer support
  • Anonymous and confidential pregnancy testing
  • Health supplies including external condoms, oral dams, lubricant, internal condoms, finger cots, menstrual products (pads, tampons with applicators, tampons without applicators), and band-aids
  • Referrals on- and off-campus
  • Lending library and health-related pamphlets
  • Private breastfeeding space, with diapers, a bottle warmer, baby wipes, nursing pads, baby lotion, baby wipes, and rash cream
  • Artificial sunlight lamp

We are located on the second floor of MUSC, room 202.

Please note, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our physical space is closed to walk-ins.  Please connect with us via shec@msu.mcmaster.ca or via our social media accounts so that we can arrange to assist you.

The free, confidential and/or anonymous services we normally offer include:

  • Safe(r) sex supplies: internal and external condoms, personal lubricants, digit cots, oral barriers (“dental dams”).
  •  Menstrual products: various pads and tampons from light to super absorbency.
  •  Personal health supplies: diapers, ?band-aids, earplugs, and to-go facial tissues.
  • Harm reduction kits: Fentanyl contaminate testing strips & deactivation bags.
  • Take-home pregnancy testing kits – ordered through Lockers of Love.
  •  One-on-one peer support (chat, video, or phone calls).
  • Help navigating resources on- and off-campus.

* Please be aware that due to COVID-19 restrictions, our operation and distribution methods have changed.

Peer support at MSU SHEC is always 100% free, confidential, and anonymous! 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 is what will make for a better or more comfortable experience for the service user.

COVID-19 Operation: 

Chat-based peer support is available on a drop-in basis through “Tawk.to” during official operational hours. A video or phone call must be booked ahead of time (~36 hours in advance) using our anonymous request form, bit.ly/SHEC-In!

In person Operation:

Students can drop by our space any time during our service hours. 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 the resources you need. Pregnancy tests can be conducting in the space or taken home. Our light therapy ion light can be used in the back space as well. Our lending library books can be checked out with the help of a volunteer.

The Research and Advocacy Committee aims to disseminate health information that is pertinent to McMaster students. Consisting of SHEC volunteers, the committee operates under a framework of knowledge translation and ensures that information is provided both accessibly and practically. Mainly, information is distributed through educational campaigns. Advocacy is also an integral part of the workings of the committee: they respond to university decisions regarding health topics, and advocate evidence-based approaches through their campaigns. Ultimately, the committee hopes to educate and support students so that they can make informed decisions for themselves.

SHEC operates as a non-judgemental, entirely confidential service. All conversations with volunteers are confidential and volunteers have signed agreements disallowing the sharing of personal information, identifying information, and the content of peer supports.

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 fellow team member or the coordinator (no unnecessary details will be disclosed) or b) the volunteer believes there is an imminent risk to yourself or others.