The Undergraduate Executive Branch of UNC Student Government is launching a student-to-student support system for mental health with its new peer support network. This mental health initiative will begin Sept. 30.
Nikhil Rao and Jordan Garrick, co-chairs of the executive branch's Mental Health Committee, started to work on the peer support project over the summer. Rao said the idea was originally championed by Raleigh Cury and Emma Caponigro, co-directors of the undergraduate Student Mental Health Task Force for the 2018-19 school year, who recognized the lack of peer resources for students on campus. The idea was also inspired by programs from the University of Michigan.
Rao said the structure of the peer support system will be divided into five groups, which will each meet once a week for an hour, between Monday and Wednesday. Each meeting will begin with a consistent ritual before launching into what the group would like to talk about.
“The meetings will be very much up to the discussion of the facilitators,” Rao said.
Samantha Brosso, a Ph.D. student in the social psychology department at UNC, mentioned the importance of mental health services on campus. She said while physical symptoms cause people to go to the doctor, mental health is not always treated the same way.