Mental Health Peer Support program opens on UNB Saint John campus

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The UNB Saint John campus has implemented a new program to better the mental health of its students.

Wolfgang Düchtel/The Baron

Significant investments have been made to create and run a Mental Health Peer Support program, that is expected to positively impact our campus’ health services. 

The services that peer supporters will provide are one-on-one support sessions to students who are experiencing mental health or substance abuse challenges.

It will not be equivalent to counselling and is in no way meant to replace those services, but instead should be used as a complementary form of support.

Peer supporters are also expected to help normalize mental health challenges by sharing their own experiences to help assure students who are seeking support that they aren’t alone and assist peers in exploring strategies and resources. 

Peer supporters are students who have undergone vigorous and extensive training and certification through a national program specifically created for students who attend Canadian post-secondary institutions.

They also have their own lived experience of mental health challenges and will utilize this to normalize and empathize with students. A team of counselling service professionals will closely supervise the Peer Supporters. 

Students might want to access a peer supporter as they may offer a more accessible and relatable form of support. Students may also find it a more comfortable experience sharing information and their experiences with those who are closer in age or those who have their own experiences with mental health challenges. 

If students are interested in meeting with a Peer Supporter, they are able to request a meeting time through their SharePoint.

These meetings may take place in person or online – whatever is most suitable. If there are any questions or if you would like more information, please get in touch with sjpeersupport@unb.ca.