USA launches peer student support network

Digital Mojo

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – The University of South Alabama has launched a program called the Jag Student Support Network. This is a group of trained students who help their peers manage stress and cope with personal or academic issues, especially during these uncertain times.

Surveys have found that most college students are stressed or overwhelmed, but many do not seek help. Those who do, are more likely to reach out to their peers, which is why this program was created.

Dr. John Friend, Director of Counseling and Testing at South, explains, “They are our eyes and ears on campus. We know that if you don’t engage with students and make them a part of your overall mental health outreach program, then you are not going to be as effective as you can be.”

These students have been trained for 6 weeks to be able to spot those who are struggling, talk with and listen to them, and point them in the right direction of the help that they need.

Preston White, student mentor, adds, “We try to be as transparent with students as we can so we don’t come off as, you know, someone who is too professional in a sense that it backs students away. So we try to be as transparent as we can with students just so that we can talk with them and they feel safe and comfortable talking to us.” 

While this program was not started because of COVID-19, organizers have said that it is especially important to have this available for students during these times.

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