Throwing Students a Lifeline

Question: How much help do students need to be successful?

Answer: All they can get.

Being a student is seldom easy. Even on a good day, students can struggle with motivation, juggle commitments, and walk that fine line between sweet success and demoralizing failure. And on a bad day, well, let’s just say it can get overwhelming.

Here’s some welcome news: AU undergraduate students now have full access to Student Lifeline, a “confidential resource program” which students can use to “manage personal issues” at home, work, or school. The service, provided by Ceridian, is now available to students free of charge through AUSU.

Student Lifeline, similar to an Employee Assistance Program provided by some employers, offers assistance in all aspects of life such as relationships, work, health, and finances. Students can access resources to help with such issues as stress, parenting, education, aging, and buying a home. Every aspect of life is covered, including the inevitable death (grief and loss, estate and will planning) and taxes (basic tax planning, dealing with debt.)

The Student Lifeline website,, is your portal to these resources. Access to the site is easy: just use the generic log-in information provided by AUSU. (You can find this log-in info on the AUSU website, or in the e-mail AUSU sent to all member subscribers September 1.)

The website is a complete wellness library, stocked with information students can access immediately. Browse through the various topics and you’ll find articles, booklets and brochures to read, audio recordings and podcasts to listen to, self-assessment tools, and in-depth “toolkits.”

Resources can be accessed online, downloaded for later, or saved to “My Library.” Using the My Library feature requires you to register for an account, with your own unique username and password. The registration process takes only a few minutes and prompts you to provide your name, e-mail address, and to create a password to use on subsequent visits to the LifeWorks site.

Additional online services include the Student Lifeline Depression Centre, which includes information, assessment, support, and a 16-session online program; and the Student Lifeline Stop Smoking Centre, an online program offering “education, exercises, support, and resources to work through the smoking cessation process.” Participation in both these programs is confidential and anonymous (but not meant to replace professional medical advice.)

Students can also access a full array of counselling and support services by phone. Student Lifeline consultants are available at 1-877-418-1537 any hour of any day, or by web chat during specified hours. Consultants can assist students with advice, direct them to resources, or set up counselling sessions. Professional counselling sessions can be arranged by phone, video, or in person.

Being a successful student isn’t always easy. If You’re also trying to be a successful spouse, parent, employee, retiree, or any of the other life roles you play, It’s even more challenging. On top of that, life could throw you a curveball, such as job loss, divorce, mental illness, substance abuse, or a natural disaster.

Whatever challenges You’re experiencing in your life, you now have more resources to help you. Student Lifeline is a free service provided to AUSU members and their dependents. Access Student Lifeline at, or phone a Student Lifeline consultant at 1-877-418-1537. For more information on Student Lifeline, visit the Services page on the AUSU website.

AUSU refers to Student Lifeline as a “Mental Health & Wellness program.” I welcome it as a lifeline that every student needs.

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario. Follow Barbara on twitter @ThereGoesBarb.