Peer support is growing on college campuses, yet many report concerns from leaders and administrators, including ensuring students have adequate training and mental health crisis response skills.
While these concerns are well known, there is limited information about students' perspectives and experiences in campus peer programs. Additionally, campus programs are often not connected to the broader peer support movement with decades of expertise and research in peer programs, advocacy, and training.
To fill this gap, Mental Health America partnered with the Temple University Collaborative for Community Inclusion and Doors to Wellbeing to explore the experiences of college students in a new report: Peer Support In College Mental Health Initiatives: Learning From The Peer Support Movement.
The report shares the results of a survey of 85 participants and leaders in college mental health peer support programs and five one-hour interviews with selected survey respondents. It then combines survey and interview findings with available resources and information developed and led by peers or peer-run organizations.
The report’s recommendations to advance college peer support programs include:
Elevating student and lived experience leadership.
Ensuring adequate and comprehensive peer support training.
Prioritizing trauma-informed and human rights-focused approaches to mental health crises.
Investing in the future of college peer support and the broader mental health ecosystem.