Collaboration researched connection between weather, walk-in counselling
December 3, 2019
A new research collaboration between King’s staff, faculty and a student from Western has been published. Joanna Bedggood, Manager of Student Wellness, Dr. Richard Csiernik, professor in the King’s School of Social Work, and Laura MacKenzie, a Master of Public Health student at Western University doing a three-month placement at King’s, collaborated on an article “The Impact of Weather on A Canadian Post-Secondary Walk-In Counseling Program,” in the Journal of College Psychotherapy.
The origin of the article began when Bedggood worked as the Clinical Director of KW Counselling Services. “The number of people who came to our walk-in counselling were all over the place. Sometimes we would have 100 in a day, other times we had 40,” Bedggood says. She relates the staff often wondered if there was a correlation between the weather and the number of people who came to the walk-in clinics.
This past summer she decided to do a study to determine if there was such a correlation, using the walk-in counselling at King's. The project included two different parts of the King’s community: Student Wellness, Social Work and a Western University student’s literature review on similar studies on weather impacts walk-in appointments, such as at emergency rooms. MacKenzie also did the “bean counting”, keeping track of how many people attended the walk-in clinics each day they were offered and Environment Canada’s data for temperature and precipitation for those days.
“Laura did such a tremendous amount of work. She was incredible to work with. She is very hard-working and took the whole thing very seriously,” says Bedggood. MacKenzie also conducted a Wellness Audit at King’s as part of her placement last summer.
The study paired Bedggood with Dr. Csiernik, who had been her professor 15 years before when she attended King’s. Dr. Csiernik, along with Mackenzie, did the statistical analysis for the article.
Dr. Csiernik, Bedggood and Mackenzie each wrote different pieces of the article before Dr. Csiernik made the final preparations for publication.
“It’s a credit to Rick. How many people feel comfortable asking a favour of their former professor? It’s that King’s connection. He was willing to do all this just for the intellectual curiosity of it,” says Bedggood.
While the study ultimately did not find a correlation between the number of people attending walk-in clinics and the weather, Bedggood says it was a worthwhile endeavor as walk-in counselling is an emerging field that has seen tremendous growth, especially in Ontario over the last decade. “It’s exciting to conduct research of any type related to walk-in counselling,” says Bedggood. She says she is interested in studying more topics on walk-in counselling including what types of clinical interventions are used with walk-in counselling and how they differ from interventions used in on-going counselling. Another interest is why do men find it easier to access walk-in counselling.
King’s offers walk-in counselling Monday to Friday, 1:30-3:30 p.m. in Wemple 151 from September to April. For more information on the Personal Counselling available at King’s, please visit https://www.kings.uwo.ca/current-students/student-affairs/personal-counselling/
To read “The Impact of Weather on A Canadian Post-Secondary Walk-In Counseling Program,” please visit https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/87568225.2019.1687386