Students from Robert Gordon University have set up their own mental health support service to help their fellow learners deal with the stresses of higher education.
RGU Peer Support has just launched offering a confidential listening service covering all aspects of mental health.
Students can now meet virtually meet with trained peers who have been busy planning the project since the idea was first suggested in 2018.
It launched last month and all of the volunteers involved have carried out 30 hours of Connect Peer Support Training.
Erin Allan, president of RGU peer support, said the service is designed to help students and many of the volunteers understand what life is like for their fellow learners.
She said: “We have set up this service to give students the support that they deserve. Life at university is hard, and sometimes all a person needs is an ear to listen, and sometimes that ear is better when it is someone that they don’t know.
“Many students may feel they do not need help from the counselling and well being services, or maybe that ‘their needs are not severe enough’ and simply just need a little bit of support. We are here to provide students with that help and support, and if we can’t we can signpost them on to those who can.
“This service is a student-led service, so all stresses, anxieties and general issues relating to university are ones that our Peer Supporters can probably relate to. Despite us being a non-advisory listening service, students find it easier talking to other students.
“We are also passionate about reducing the stigma around mental health and promoting mental health in a positive way.”
Peer Support vice president Iona Mackay said her own battles with mental health was an important part of her reason for joining the service.
She said: “During this time not only have I made friends for life and with the incredible backing of my fellow Peer Supporters I have gained a vast amount of confidence in myself which has allowed me to record presentations promoting our organisation.
“I got involved with Peer Support due to my personal struggles with mental health, I believe that if this service had existed when I first began university then it is likely my well being would not have declined so significantly, I sincerely hope that we can help at least one student and prevent them from facing any struggles alone.”