From one student to another, sometimes we all need a little support. Learn more about CUAA’s Peer Support Program and why it might be right for you.
focus on emotional support, sharing experiences, education and practical activities
A recent study found that 60 percent of college students reported feeling overwhelming anxiety, while 40 percent reported feeling too depressed to function. Another study discovered that among college students struggling with mental health, 45 percent of them did not seek any help.
The truth is that everyone feels alone in their thinking until they find the courage to talk to someone about it. Contrary to popular belief seeking help and support when you are struggling is one of the greatest displays of strength.
While not a substitute for professional therapy provided by a licensed counselor, peer support groups have proven successful in helping people get over the hump of not wanting to seek help when they need it. At Concordia, the Peer Support Program exists to provide student-to-student emotional support, common ground in shared experiences, and broadened perspectives gained from the sharing of practical advice and life experiences.
My history with seeking help
I used to be someone who thought it was weak to talk about how much I was struggling. I convinced myself that if I admitted defeat then I would be a bad student or athlete. I would be someone who couldn’t crack it in college. This is far from the case, however. Once I realized this, I felt freer to start talking about my struggles. Once I began talking more about my experience, I learned I was not alone. Ultimately, my mindset changed.
It’s because of my own lived experiences that I wanted to become a peer mentor on campus. I want to be a safe person for students on campus who are struggling and looking for someone to make them feel less alone. It is very likely that the person sitting next to you in class, your teammate, someone sitting in the library studying, and a multitude of others on campus are battling their own demons as well. This has become more evident to me over the last few years in my interactions, which is why it is so important to have programs like the peer support program on campus.
I joined the peer support program as a way to help and support individuals who are struggling and empower them to take the steps to better their mental health and well-being. Here are some reasons why you might benefit from the program too.
Why you should consider the Peer Support Program
1. You deserve to feel heard!
You deserve a safe person and a safe place to express your feelings and worries. The design of the Peer Mentor Program helps give you the capacity to feel seen and heard.
2. You can expand your knowledge of mental health services on campus
The peer support program is not the only mental health service offered on campus. We have an amazing Counseling and Psychological Service or CAPS run by director, Aysha Abiade. We also have a campus comfort dog, Gracie Maize that makes visits to campus.
3. You can add to your support system here
The peer mentor program was created so students do not feel alone in their struggles but also to give them another line of support on campus. Students have the support of all staff on campus but it’s nice to be able to meet with a student going through similar experiences as them at the same time.
4. You can help to stop the stigma
There is a large stigma with mental health whether that be talking about it or reaching out for help. By reaching out and meeting with a peer mentor you can help break the stigma surrounding mental health on college campuses.
5. You can practice self-care and prioritize yourself
Lastly, meeting with a peer mentor or making an appointment with CAPs allows individuals to practice self-care and prioritize themselves. Self-care is so crucial especially as a college student going through changes and under a lot of pressure and investing in your mental health is one of the best ways to care for and prioritize yourself.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Concordia University Ann Arbor is dedicated to helping students reach and maintain mental, physical, and spiritual health. CAPS is a free and confidential resource for enrolled students to use at any point during their time at CUAA. Trained counselors will give you focused attention to help you process your feelings, set obtainable goals, and explore your concerns about any topic you may be struggling with.
About the author
This article is written by Maddy Grueter. Maddy is a junior who is studying social work and psychology. This is her second year serving as a peer support leader at CUAA. She is also a member of the Cardinals women’s softball team.