King’s Counselling Service is inviting postgraduate students to apply by Friday the 30th of October to become Peer Supporters. The training will equip you with a range of transferable skills in listening, communicating and relating to others. If you are interested in applying please complete the application form, accessible via the link at the bottom of this post.
The training will focus on non-judgmental, active listening, giving you the necessary skills to help fellow students talk through their problems or concerns and explore their options. Once trained, you will join a panel of Peer Supporters within your Faculty and must commit to being available in your role for a minimum of one year.
Research shows that usually students will initially seek support for personal problems from their peers. However, while those peers often want to support their friends they can be at a loss to know how best to help, especially in a moment of crisis. People often report feeling afraid of saying or doing the ‘wrong’ thing, or of feeling burdened by the enormity of a friend’s problem or they may hold a confidence longer than is healthy or safe.
The Peer Support programme offers excellent training and continuing supervision which enhances and makes safer the existing provisions within King’s. The scheme forms a key part of the outreach and training programme within the Counselling Service and KCLSU/King’s joint Time to Change commitment.
Supporters are often the first and only stop for those seeking help and, utilising trained skills, can often help others before a problem becomes severe. Additionally, speaking to a peer may be more acceptable to some students than visiting a professional counsellor. Trained Peer Supporters can help their fellow students work through any stigma attached to mental health issues/counselling and support them during a referral process, should one be needed.
Groups of approximately 15 students train together over 25 hours, including 2 full training days and 3-4 afternoons/evenings. Training includes group work, role play, scenarios, listening based exercises, presentations on topics around mental health from anxiety and depression to myths and facts around suicide as well as appropriate referral pathways, and is interactive as much as possible. Attendance at all training sessions is a pre-requisite.
The training is run by Stevie Griffiths (Head of Counselling), Jo Levy (Deputy Head of Counselling), and Jim Spears (Psychotherapist/Specialist trainer). If you would like to become a Peer Supporter please complete the application form and email it to Joanna.Levy@kcl.ac.uk as soon as possible, or by Friday the 30th of October at the latest.