SHREVEPORT, La. -- As the pandemic stretches into its second year maintaining mental health is a priority. LSU Shreveport wants to do its part by taking some of the stigma out of seeking help.
The university is offering a certified peer educator program to students. Now that students are back on campus, and feeling the effects from the pandemic, it is the best time for them to use students to better reach other students.
The program was intended to start months ago; however, the university could not best launch it due to the pandemic. LSUS partnered with NASPA to offer students a certified peer educator training program.
The 12-hour training course helps students recognize the mental health needs of other students. This helps address the stigma of seeking help from a only a counselor.
Student responsibilities include being a resource for the student body to freely approach them if they need someone to talk to. The program also trains peer educators to direct students to additional resources. The peer educator role requires in-depth diversity training, mental health awareness, and student advocacy.
The university’s first certified peer educator, junior Alyssa Garza said, “ I think it's going to be, or is already, a really good system to have in place for students, especially if they don't feel immediately comfortable with seeking counseling services. It can be a step for them to start seeking help.”
Although these services are specific to the campus, mental health resources are available for the public. Below is a list of resources.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hotline: 1-800-622-help (4357)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis text line (text “connect” for free, 24/7 help for depression.): 741741