The Counselling Centre

Peer Support

“Peer support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful. Peer support is not based on psychiatric models and diagnostic criteria. It is about understanding another’s situation empathically through the shared experience of emotional and psychological pain.”

(Mead, Hilton & Curtis, 2001, p. 135)

What is Peer Support?

Peer Support happens in a relationship between people who have experiences in common. This could be a mental illness, stress or anxiety, a difficult time in life, or university adjustment. Peer Supporters offer their fellow students emotional and social support as they too have struggled.  This support is grounded in hope, empowerment, and recovery.

Peer Support focuses on health and recovery rather than on illness and disability. Supporters can help individuals move towards a greater sense of self-confidence and wellbeing.

All students are welcome to visit a Peer Supporter during drop-in hours. Peer Support can be an additional resource from students already seeking treatment as well as a safe, confidential space for students to talk to a trained peer.

Who are my Peer Supporters?

Peer Supporters are students who have experience dealing with mental health concerns. These students are trained within the Stay Connected Mental Health Project and The Counselling Centre to support their peers through active listening, goal-setting, and resource referral. As students, Supporters understand how stressful university life can be. Peer Supporters are here to help with a lot of mental health concerns including managing stress, coping strategies, relationship problems, and referrals to other important resources.

 

Nikolas is a 5th year Commerce student pursing an Honours in Economics. This is his second year as a Peer Supporter on campus and he is excited to have the opportunity to provide support to students for another year. A student with an interesting path through university, Nikolas began his university career with the department of Arts and as a member of the varsity football team. After a severe injury, he was left unable to continue athletics and began his journey to self-discovery. Since, he has been able to complete an exchange in France, work with international students, and most recently spent four months in Uganda. Further, he has a unique history and personal connections with mental health and is more than willing to share his experiences with you. Nikolas looks forward to meeting you and supporting you throughout the academic year. 


picture of nik

 

Shelbi is a 4th year psychology major who is also working towards a certificate in human resources. She is from a small town in Central Ontario and loves SMU for its tight-knit campus and cultural diversity. Shelbi is co-captain of the SMU Dance team and has been helping new students as a Packleader for the last two years of Welcome Week. She has a personal interest in mental wellbeing and is excited to continue to offer support to her peers throughout the school year.

 

Kanaar, a 4th year psychology student with a minor in business is originally from Calgary, AB. At age twelve he moved to Oshawa, ON with his mother and sister where he discovered his passion for football. This passion provided him the opportunity to move to Nova Scotia and study at Saint Mary's University. As a student leader involved in many community engagements and campus initiatives he has found new passions in life. Kanaar, loves meeting new people and is motivated to support students through their personal struggles with mental health as he has personally experienced the impacts of neglecting such issues on an individual, family, and community. He is humbled to be in a position to help others overcome.

 

How can I see a Peer Supporter?

Peer Support is a free, confidential, drop-in service located on the first floor of the Student Centre (Room 106) in The Wellness Centre.

To contact a Peer Supporter, please email peer.support@smu.ca.

To stay connected with us, please visit our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram.

Peer Support is not an emergency service. For Saint Mary’s University students requiring immediate assistance, please contact Morneau Shepell at 1-855-649-8641.