Peer Support

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Hours of operation

LiveChat Service Hours
TBD

 

What is Peer Support?

Peer Support is an anonymous and confidential supportive listening service for students, by students. Delivered on a walk-in basis located in J209B on NAIT Main Campus, as well as LiveChat.

Our Peer Supporters are rigorously screened, interviewed, and trained over several days, and are also NAIT students just like you! 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.

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.

The 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. After hiring and training our first group of selected Peer Supporters, who underwent 2 full weekends of training on Supportive and Active Listening, and Risk Management training (which includes Abuse and Suicide Listening models), we were able to launch in mid-Fall 2018.

Fall 2020 brought its own challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. We were fortunate enough to be able to interview, hire, and train our peer supporters virtually. During this time, we also transitioned to LiveChat support which allowed us to have a wider availability of operating hours. This year we are happy to bring Peer Support back to campus to help students face to face and delivered virtually!

The Peer Support service is funded by The NAIT Students’ Association (NAITSA), with support from the AB Government Mental Health grant.

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 discussed in the prior session.

How do I know that Peer Support is a confidential service?

All of our Peer Supporters have signed a confidentiality agreement, and are trained not to disclose identifying information. We do not ask for your name or student ID number. We also provide a welcoming and safe space in order to keep the client comfortable. When you are ready to talk, we are here to listen.

Can I bring in my boyfriend/girlfriend for couples’ counselling?

No, our peer supporters can only do one-on-one sessions, but we can provide you with further resources for relationship support.

Are there more student resources?

Yes! Please visit our student resources page if you’d like to reach out for more support and student resources.

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.

Staff Contact

Peer Support Coordinator

Shayna MacLeod| shaynam@nait.ca

NOTE: Please do not email or contact regarding personal difficulties, but instead feel free to use our chat service during business hours, or see the resources below. If risk is immediate please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.