Laurentian Launches Peer Wellness Program
Laurentian University students are working together to help support and de-stigmatize mental health on campus.
Mental health matters. It affects how we feel, think, and behave. It also impacts how we make decisions, how we handle stress, and how we manage relationships.
Students at Laurentian University are making a positive impact toward the well-being of fellow students. While many resources and services are dedicated to support mental health and wellness, such as Counselling Services, Health and Wellness Services, Accessibility Services, the Indigenous Student Affairs office, and the Equity, Diversity, and Human Rights office (EDHRO), the new Peer Wellness Program will contribute exponentially to student mental health and wellness. The program is in its early stages of implementation and is already gaining traction on campus.
The mission behind the Peer Wellness Program
Kayla Dibblee and Amalia Secenj are amongst the many dedicated students who have contributed to the development of this Program. Dibblee is a Master’s student in Social Work, and a Physical and Health Education and Education alumna, whereas Secenj is completing her final semester of the Health Promotion program.
Describing the mission of the Peer Wellness Program, Secenj said: “It’s about providing guidance and creating goals to help support mental health and de-stigmatize mental health on campus. It’s about the development of peer support relationships amongst students.” The Program hopes to uplift the voices of student communities on campus in respectful and empathetic ways. It is designed to complement existing professional services on campus. To date, more than forty students have signed up to become peer supporters. Notably, not only will peer-to-peer relationships be fostered amongst students by the Program, but supportive resources are equally made available online.
Added Dibblee: “There is great value in peer-to-peer support. Power and knowledge come from lived experience, and students, especially those equipped with the right training, can often provide excellent support for fellow students. They understand the student experience, as they themselves live this experience.”
Stephanie Harris, Intake Support and Community Outreach Coordinator of the EDHRO office added: “Students care about other students. They care about creating an environment where everybody feels welcomed and respected.”
Isabelle Chaussé, Manager of Counselling and Accessibility Services also said: “My team and I are very excited to be working with students who are passionate about mental health. We've dedicated a space within the Counselling department for the Peer Wellness Program where student peers will play a crucial role in our service delivery model. The Peer Wellness Program will enhance the experience of students feeling seen, heard, and understood.
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