Post a Comment Print Share on Facebook
Featured Descola WDR Moderator santander averiguar pinchar

Peer counselors in college are in high demand. Training is only the beginning.

Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 if you or someone you care about is considering suicide.

- 195 reads.

Peer counselors in college are in high demand. Training is only the beginning.

Peer counselors in college are in high demand. Training is only the beginning.

Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 if you or someone you care about is considering suicide.

Ella Snyder, a first-year student at Boston College from fall 2020, recalls feeling isolated. She was also anxious about new COVID-19 safety restrictions.

She says, "I was very concerned about how I would make friends and also have to deal with social distance." It was almost like I was trying find the impossible balance.

Snyder was walking across campus when he saw a flyer advertising Lean On Me. This peer support network hosts confidential online conversations with students who have completed about 30 hours of training including crisis protocols.

We are aware that students have mental health issues. Here are some ways you can help.

BACK TO SCHOOL - LIVE UPDATES

We are aware that students have mental health issues. Here are some ways you can help.

Snyder signed up and sent a message to a peer. According to Snyder, the conversation helped her deal with anxiety.

She says, "It was really nice to have mine validated." "I felt bad for asking questions about COVID concerns. While you do want to spread the pandemic virus and not spread it, it also takes a toll upon your mental health."

A nationwide panic of anxiety and isolation has hit young people especially hard during the pandemic. These young people are increasingly turning to one another for support. A new survey found that nearly half of college students believe pandemic disruptions made it more likely they would seek peer counseling as Snyder suggested. Another 20% said it made it "much more probable." Researchers from the Mary Christie Institute, Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation conducted a survey of more than 2000 college students last fall. They found that two-thirds of them had experienced a mental health problem in the past year. One fifth of college students have received peer counseling.

Zoe Ragouzeos is president of Mary Christie Institute. "Students need support from their peers." Colleges are keen to offer that support, particularly at a time where college mental health professionals continue to report high levels of burnout and a heavy workload.

Ragouzeos cautions that peer counselors may not be able to handle crisis situations in the same way as clinicians. The survey revealed that 16% of student counselors didn't know about emergency procedures in case they became concerned for the safety of another student.

Ragouzeos identifies the most concerning finding among all the findings.

Peer counselors cannot replace campus mental health professionals

Snyder, 19 years old, has switched from Boston College's peer counseling program to Lean On Me. She said that she had many conversations with students about the impact of the pandemic on college life, particularly during the omicron-driven cases surge.

She explains that it is a difficult time transitioning from in-person classes to online classes and then to a mixture of online and in person this year. "So, I believe that that brought up many different elements of change that students weren't ready for. According to "Lean On Me" student leaders, the number of students who seek peer support has increased during the pandemic. Last fall, the number of text messages in which students express suicidal thoughts and self-harm has also increased.

Peer counselors at Lean On Me have been trained in campus protocol, risk assessment and on-and off-campus resources. Their training continues throughout their service. The network connects students to professionals or hotlines if they reach out to the network when they are in crisis.

However, the survey shows that not all peer counselors can deal with students in crisis.

How to help someone at risk of suicide

SHORT WAVE

How to help someone at risk of suicide

Ragouzeos states, "It is imperative that students be uniformly trained." We want them to be able to recognize when they're in a high-risk environment. These programs must be managed on campus by counseling centers. They are able to respond to students who seem to be in urgent need of support.

Campus mental health counselors are in agreement.

Matthew Barry, assistant director for community and counseling at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, says that "we can't outsource the work to students who haven't been trained in it."

Although the school has 350 peer counselors who are trained to help its students of over 7,000, Barry says it is still in a mental crisis. This comes after seven student suicides since July 2021.

Barry chokes up and says that it's been a difficult year. There's a lot to be grieved. We are trying to help people who are in pain.

There is a lot of pain. We are trying to help those who are suffering.

Matthew Barry, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

WPI administrators have pledged to increase mental health resources and peer support in the future. Barry is a counselor at WPI and recruits about 100 students annually for a support network which, like Lean On Me refers crisis situations directly to a hotline in the community.

Although he believes there is a high demand for mental health services, he feels that WPI could do more to raise awareness and help students to seek it out.

"Can we do better at putting it out there so people can see it, digest it, and then take it all in?

It is now easier to get help

Ella Snyder, Boston College, says that her volunteer work is now more meaningful because a friend, who was a student at another college, committed suicide this summer.

"Every conversation I have now, I try to remember that if something like this existed at his school, he wouldn’t be afraid to ask for help because it's so simple and confidential."

Avatar
Your Name
Post a Comment
Characters Left:
Your comment has been forwarded to the administrator for approval.×
Warning! Will constitute a criminal offense, illegal, threatening, offensive, insulting and swearing, derogatory, defamatory, vulgar, pornographic, indecent, personality rights, damaging or similar nature in the nature of all kinds of financial content, legal, criminal and administrative responsibility for the content of the sender member / members are belong.