A new program from counselling services has been introduced to provide peer support to students.
The Peer Support Centre is where students can be assisted by other well-trained students, or can just chat in an environment full of music, board games and snacks.
The volunteers from the recently opened Peer Support Centre will work to find an answer to any issue, from simple questions about where to find a building or a service to talking through academic struggles or to finding help with mental illnesses or the loss of a family member.
Hilary Swan, a first-year masters student in education and counseling, is the coordinator of the center.
“It is an initiative run by students, for students, and where someone can come with anything and everything,” said Swan.
“They can come and speak with the peer and receive a non-judgemental, safe and supportive feedback and listening and also receive references to get resources on campus.”
Any student can walk in without making an appointment and talk with the peers during the week in the SUB.
The center is looking to host regular events next month such as having therapy dogs or a coffee house to invite students to discover the importance of this program.
Matthew MacLean is the mental health strategist of UNB Counseling Services.
“Most people try to hide that vulnerability and pain for the fear of share but we want people to know that everyone experiences suffering, everyone experience mental health challenges, and we can all together support and help one another,” he said.
“We just want to create a warm, welcoming safe space for students … to create a more supportive and inclusive atmosphere,”
MacLean believes that the 23 students that volunteer in the Peer Support Centre represents the diversity of UNB.
Swan is convinced the passion and diversity of the volunteers is the most important component of the program.
“From almost every faculty across campus, we have both graduate and undergraduate students, mature students, students that are parents, international students and those who identify themselves as part of the LGTBQ community, students with different experiences,” Swan said.
“The volunteers are what makes this place so incredible … they really represent our student body and I’m proud of who they are and what they are doing,”
For more information about the Peer Support Centre, email firstname.lastname@example.org.