March 2021 Volume 4, Issue 2
A new mental health program at SVCC gives students struggling a chance to receive help from peer mentors, and those mentors an opportunity to gain experience helping their peers.
The mission of this new program is to “enrich students' lives through support and mental health advocacy.”
It offers the opportunity to partner with a fellow peer at SVCC and work through different stressors. These can be related to school but also include work and home.
Peer mentors are there to help SVCC students succeed at their goals. This includes improving study skills, managing time, and just listening if necessary.
SVCC Mental Health and Academic Counselor/Assistant Professor Jennifer Hooker is the supervisor of this peer support program. Hooker is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.
“We are currently in a soft launch of our program,” says Hooker. There is currently only one mentor but be on the lookout for information on applying to be a mentor come this fall when she will be looking for more.
As for these peer mentors, Hooker says that “One of the biggest requirements is wanting to help their fellow peers.” She is also looking for students with experience in volunteering and helping others.
“They need to be getting at least a 3.0 GPA and have references,” says Hooker. The mentors must also go through an interview process. If selected the mentors would go through three days of training.
There are benefits to becoming a mentor such as, “Mentors learn relationship skills, emotional intelligence, boundaries and confidentiality, mental health education, and ways to help students improve their study skills,” says Hooker. This means that a mentor’s future profession doesn’t necessarily matter since all of these skills are essential in a professional setting.
For those with privacy concerns, Hooker says, “Mentors currently are meeting with mentees in a HIPPAA compliant website called Doxyme.”
The mentors keep a log of their meetings with mentees in a secure system that is only accessible to the supervisor of the program. Hooker says that logs are only “reviewed by the supervisor of the student peer mentors to make sure that participants are getting the support they need, and mentors are working within the scope of their training.”
If you are interested in requesting a peer mentor follow this link to fill out a self-referral form. It is important to note that a mentee is assigned to their peer mentors “based on interests, personality, the mentee's needs and the mentor's strengths.”