The (Brief) History of Peer Support
Peer Support evolved after years of demand from NAIT students as we recognized that supporting student mental health is imperative. Finally, in the fall of 2018, NAITSA was able to start putting the wheels in motion.
NAITSA researched how other campuses implemented their Peer Support Programs and met with experts in the field. We had a goal to hire 10 Peer Supporters and 1 Peer Support Coordinator in our first year, and after posting the job positions in August 2018, we were overwhelmed with the warm reception and variety of applicants to the Peer Support team. We had over 50 applicants!
In October and November 2018, our final group of selected Peer Supporters underwent 2 full weekends of training on Supportive and Active Listening, and Risk Management training (which includes Abuse and Suicide Listening models). Our “soft launch” date was November 26th 2018, and we were so excited!
The Peer Support program is funded by The NAIT Students’ Association (NAITSA), with support from the AB Government Mental Health grant paid to us through NAIT’s Student Health and Well-Being department.
Hours of Operation
Oct 21 – Dec 13
NOTE: Hours are subject to change depending on staff availability.
Peer Support Aims:
To provide an environment where students will feel safe and at ease when discussing concerns with their peers.
To empower students when making decisions regarding their situations.
To make referrals to appropriate campus departments, community agencies, or organizations if the student requires further support or information.
How it Works
Peer support is an anonymous and confidential supportive listening service for students by students. It is on a walk-in basis, and is located in J209B on NAIT Main Campus. Even if you don’t want to talk for a whole session, pop by the room to grab some freebies or resources and come see our cozy space.
Peer Supporters are not psychologists or professional counsellors, and as such, there are some limitations to the kind of service they can provide. Peer Supporters can help students develop an action plan and give referrals to other areas or services more appropriate for long term support, like counselling or professional help.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a peer support session look like?
A student comes into the room and will be welcomed! A peer supporter will talk one-on-one with the student regarding their issue of choice, and then provide referrals or resources for further support. Each session can be around 45 minutes. Our service is limited to one session per issue per person. For example, you can only come once to Peer Support to talk about your feelings about failing a midterm, but can come in again if you have a different struggle, (like a breakup) that wasn’t talked about in the prior session.
What if I’m too embarrassed to go to peer support?
Can I bring in my boyfriend/girlfriend for couples’ counselling?
Where's the Peer Support room J209?
(2nd floor in the J hallway)
Service Hub Manager
NOTE: Please do not email or contact regarding personal difficulties, but instead go to room J-209B during business hours, or see the resources below. If risk is immediate please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
In Crisis After Hours?
The Distress Line – 780.482.HELP (4357) or call 211
If risk is immediate, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.