Conestoga Student Success


How to ask for help

Being a student is hard. The pressure is real. College may not be what you expected. During your time at Conestoga, you may feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to cope. You may feel alone.

You can persevere through failure, fear and despair. Success starts with knowing yourself, including your natural strengths and your response to stress. Conestoga services are here to help you learn and grow outside the classroom.

The guide below directs you to support options based on the intensity of your feelings. Knowing how and where to reach out for help at Conestoga is essential. You are not alone.


Stress is a survival mechanism; it is our body’s reaction to a certain situation or event that we feel may be a threat to us. It is a normal part of academic life and can increase your focus and performance. In college, you are being stretched by new and often competing demands. When you are stressed, you may experience changes in your emotions, body and/or thinking. You may need help identifying specific stress points and learning new skills to manage your stress response effectively.

Reach out for resources and support:        


Distress occurs when you are faced with stress points that you are struggling to cope with. These stress points could be a specific experience, life event or ongoing unpleasant feelings. When your normal coping strategies (e.g. rest, exercise, staying positive are not working, your daily functioning might also be impacted. Examples include:

  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Significant changes in appetite
  • Not attending class, work, or difficulty completing normal self-care activities (e.g. preparing meals, showering)
  • Increased substance use
  • Decreased interest in your usual hobbies or interests.
  • Thoughts of self-harm

Depending on your level of distress, you may need to talk to a professional who can help you make changes in your life and improve or expand your coping strategies.

Consider working with our college counsellors, nurse practitioners or doctors:     


When your level of distress becomes severe, and you cannot find any relief from overwhelming and negative feelings, you may experience thoughts of suicide. You may imagine death as an escape from the way you are feeling. You may be struggling to stay safe and have a plan to end your life or someone else’s life.       

When your level of distress becomes severe, and you feel you cannot cope or feel you are not in control, you may need support. The following are signs you need immediate help:       

  • Having thoughts about ending your life or trying to end your life
  • Having thoughts of hurting others
  • Making choices that put you or others in serious danger
  • Experiencing sensations that are not real and/or beliefs that cannot possibly be true
  • Becoming unable to care for yourself and it is putting you at risk of serious harm.

Take immediate action:

  • Call HERE 24/7 for addictions, mental health and crisis services in Waterloo and Wellington regions (1-844-437-3247)
  • Call Talk Suicide (available 24/7) if you do not live in Waterloo or Wellington region (1-833-456-4566)
  • Go to your local hospital’s emergency room or call 911
    • Kitchener/Waterloo | Grand River Hospital | 835 King St W, Kitchener, ON
    • Cambridge | Cambridge Memorial Hospital | 700 Coronation Blvd, Cambridge, ON

If you are experiencing an emergency on campus, please contact security.

Download a printable (PDF) version of this guide.

Conestoga College