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In July 2022, the Mary Christie Institute conducted a survey with the membership of the Association of University College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD) that indicated near
universal support for some type of peer support program, challenging the notion that professional counselors are reluctant to experiment with this methodology. The survey follows previous
research by MCI and its partners, which showed strong usage and keen interest in the practice, higher still since the pandemic, and highest among students with minoritized identities.
The heightened interest in peer support can be tied to the reported benefits of the practice, as well as its potential in helping to address the campus mental health crisis where demand
for service is outpacing capacity. Our research suggests that peer support in a college setting has the potential to help students with subclinical issues and may be an appropriate
alternative to professional counseling for some subset of students. But embracing paraprofessional services as part of mental health programming on campus needs to be more than
a reaction to a service delivery challenge.
Published on November 3 2022