September was Suicide Prevention Month and USD has opened a new mentoring program called Peer 2 Peer. The program connects USD students struggling with mental health issues with a peer mentor to help support them at USD.
Shelea Schloss, a graduate assistant with the Student Counseling Center, said she believes Peer 2 Peer will help students be okay with talking about their mental health amongst their peers.
“(Peer 2 Peer) will help students in the fact that it’s another mental health resource on USD campus, and it’s not going to a traditional counselor or therapist or anything like that, it’s them seeking support through a peer,” Schloss said.
The program started when the non-profit organization Lost and Found came to USD and assessed USD for mental health resources and what resources USD has for suicide prevention efforts. When Lost and Found finished with their assessment, they offered services to USD and introduced Peer 2 Peer.
“I really hope that it… decreases that stigma of mental health and people can not be ashamed to, you know, come out and say, ‘hey, I struggle with bipolar disorder’ or ‘I struggle with anxiety’ and have nobody look at them and be like, ‘Oh, you’re crazy’ or ‘you’re depressed,’ like that type of stuff,” Schloss said. “I hope people can be like, ‘hey, I do too,’ like we can connect on that on that level, which would be fantastic,”
Peer 2 Peer is located at the Cook House at 605 East Clark Street. Appointments can be set up online on the USD website under Student Life. The Cook House is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m to 5 p.m.