UNK expands peer-to-peer mental health support for students – UNK News
JOIN THE TOGETHERALL ONLINE COMMUNITY
So much in the world right now is uncertain and difficult, but you don’t have to feel alone.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers a variety of services and resources that support student mental health, including a new online community where Lopers can express their feelings and connect with others who share similar experiences.
Togetherall is a virtual peer-to-peer mental health and wellness support system available free of charge to anyone with a UNK email address. The website provides an anonymous and safe space for students around the world to communicate with each other and offer information, advice and reassurance.
“Often, students turn to social media to make connections, but those connections aren’t always genuine,” said Kiphany Hof, associate director of counseling at UNK. “We really want to give students a place where they can find meaningful connections and get accurate, useful information.”
Created in 2007, Togetherall is currently offered at more than 300 colleges and universities, and more than 3 million students have access to the service. It is available to Lopers through a partnership between UNK Counseling and UNK Online.
Togetherall serves both on-campus students and those taking courses remotely. Employees can also create an anonymous account using their UNK email address.
The site offers a variety of free tools and resources, all of which are available 24/7.
Users can share and respond to posts, access articles and other resources, keep a journal, set goals, complete self-assessments, and express themselves creatively by adding a “brick” to the community wall. There are groups you can join – including student life, the military, work-life balance and parents and carers – and the site lets people search for specific topics such as anxiety. , depression, recovery and relationships.
Togetherall is followed by licensed mental health practitioners who are available to offer support and advice. They also step in if someone is contemplating self-harm or suicide.
Amid a national mental health crisis among high school and college students, Hof wants Lopers to know it’s okay to seek help.
“There’s a huge population of students who are really hesitant to come to counselling,” she said. “By offering an anonymous resource such as Togetherall, we hope to engage more students seeking mental health support.”
MENTAL HEALTH AMBASSADORS
Peer support is a key part of UNK’s efforts to promote student well-being.
UNK Counseling, Residence Life and the Office of Health Promotion recently launched a Mental Health Ambassador Program to provide an additional resource for students.
Through the program, approximately 20 resident assistants on campus completed eight hours of mental health first aid training to learn how to recognize and respond to a mental health crisis. RAs serve as the initial contact, providing support and guidance to other Lopers and, if necessary, referring students to professional counseling services on campus.
“We hope to expand this program so that more students and even faculty and staff will benefit from this additional training,” said Hof, who is also working with the Office of Health Promotion to launch a Peer Wellness Coaches program. on the campus.
UNK CONSULTING SERVICES
UNK Counseling offers a range of professional mental health services, including personal, group and addiction counselling, crisis intervention, awareness programs and counselling.
Full-time students can schedule up to three counseling sessions per semester, beyond the initial consultation, at no cost. Additional sessions are $10 each. Students who are not enrolled full-time are still eligible for counseling services, but there is a fee.
Counseling services are available by appointment only, unless there is an immediate threat to someone’s safety. Call 308-865-8248 or visit the Counseling Center in the Memorial Student Affairs Building, Room 144, to schedule an appointment. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.