UNK Expands Peer-to-Peer Mental Health Support for Students – UNK News


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JOIN THE ONLINE COMMUNITY TOGETHER

So much in the world right now is uncertain and challenging, but you don’t have to feel alone.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers a variety of services and resources that support students’ mental health, including a new online community where Lopers can express their feelings and connect with others who share similar experiences.

Togetherall is a peer-to-peer virtual mental health and wellness support system available free of charge to anyone with a UNK email address. The website provides an anonymous and secure space for college students from around the world to communicate with each other and offer information, advice and comfort.

“Often, students turn to social media to make connections, but those relationships aren’t always authentic,” said Kiphany Hof, associate director of counseling at UNK. “We really want to offer students a place where they can find meaningful connections and get useful and accurate information.”

Created in 2007, Togetherall is currently offered in over 300 colleges and universities, with over 3 million students having 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 classes remotely. Employees can also create an anonymous account using their UNK email address.

The site offers a variety of free tools and resources, all available 24/7.

Users can share and reply to posts, access articles and other resources, publish 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, military, work-life balance, and parents and caregivers, and the site allows people to search for specific topics like anxiety, depression, recovery, and relationships.

Togetherall is monitored by licensed mental health professionals who are available to offer support and guidance. They also intervene if someone is considering self-harm or suicide.

In the midst of a national mental health crisis among high school and college students, Hof wants Lopers to know it’s okay to seek help.

“There is a huge population of students who are really reluctant to come to counseling,” he said. “By offering an anonymous resource like Togetherall, we hope to engage more students seeking mental health support.”

MENTAL HEALTH AMBASSADORS

Peer-to-peer support is a key part of the UNK’s efforts to promote student welfare.

UNK Counseling, Residence Life and the Office of Health Promotion recently launched a Mental Health Ambassadors program to provide an additional resource for students.

Through the program, approximately 20 campus resident caregivers completed eight hours of mental health first aid training to learn how to recognize and respond to a mental health crisis. The RAs act as an initial contact, providing support and guidance to fellow Lopers and, when needed, referring students to professional counseling services on campus.

“We hope to grow that program so that more students, or even faculty and staff, have that additional training,” said Hof, who is also working with the Office for Health Promotion to start a Peer Wellness Coaches program in the campus.

UNK CONSULTING SERVICES

UNK Counseling provides a range of professional mental health services, including personal, group and substance abuse counseling, crisis intervention, planning and outreach counseling.

Full-time students can schedule up to three counseling sessions per semester, in addition to initial counseling, at no cost. Additional sessions cost $ 10 each. Students not enrolled on a full-time basis can still benefit from counseling services, but there is a contribution.

Counseling services are available by appointment only, unless there is an immediate threat to someone’s safety. Call 308-865-8248 or visit the advisory center in the Memorial Student Affairs Building, Room 144, to make an appointment. Office hours are 8:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday.



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