By Daphnée Lévesque
My first few years at university, I felt incredibly lonely and disconnected from the people around me.
Having been diagnosed with a mental illness, I struggled with managing both my symptoms and academic responsibilities. I felt like I had no one to turn to and oftentimes felt as though my friends and family didn’t understand me.
Luckily, I ended up getting mental health support by reaching out to the different resources offered on campus.
Through that process, I discovered that in addition to the services on campus, there are also several peer support groups hosted at UBC. I started attending them regularly, and eventually, I made some close friends and became a peer facilitator myself.
It’s almost been a year since I became a mental health peer facilitator, and I want to let people know that there is help available out there. Even though it can be hard to find it, it still exists — I promise you.
There are three main peer support groups on campus that meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis — Kaleidoscope, S.H.A.R.E and VICE. Before going into details, here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- The groups are student-run and operate on a peer-to-peer, drop-in basis.
- They are not replacement for other forms of treatment, such as counselling, and facilitators are not mental health professionals
- The groups are confidential and based on active-listening, rather than unsolicited advice giving
- The groups aim to provide attendees with a safe, inclusive, stigma free and non-judgmental space
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