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March 21, 2022
Boston, MA March 15th 2022
The Mary Christie Institute has today announced a new partnership and $50,000 grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation to begin work on an in-depth white paper study on peer counseling for college students. The paper will provide an overview of the college mental health crisis, the development of peer counseling, its prevalence, usage, strengths and weaknesses, case studies, conclusions and recommendations.
“Peer support programs for college student mental health are becoming an increasingly important part of campus support systems yet there is a dearth of information guiding their adoption on college campuses,” said Sharon Shapiro, Trustee and Community Liaison at the Ruderman Family Foundation. “This white paper will provide that direction by highlighting the critical elements experts report are needed to make these programs successful.”
A recent survey by the Mary Christie Institute and the Born This Way Foundation found that one in five college students have used peer counseling and that a majority are interested in doing so. Kindness, familiarity with identities and lack of capacity at counseling centers are just some of the motivations. Given the interest in using these services, and the potential they have in providing needed options for campuses struggling to meet the rising demand for services, the Ruderman Family Foundation has asked the Mary Christie Institute to produce a report that includes an in-depth narrative on the use of peer counseling programs for college student mental in America.
The views of stakeholders for whom the potential use of peer support is an urgent priority will be an important consideration, such as counseling center directors who may develop these services, students of marginalized identities who are more likely to use them, and student leaders who are motivated to promote them.
“I am impressed by how involved students want to be in helping their peers with their mental health but there are so many things I want to know will be in place with peer to peer programs such as adequate training, well understood protocols, and an assurance that those who are helping others are not overburdening themselves,” said Dr. Zoe Ragouzeos, EVP of Counseling and Wellness Services at New York University and President of the Mary Christie Institute
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