After four years at Laurier Waterloo, the Student’s Union Peer Help Line is setting its sights on Brantford. While the help line has always been accessible to all students, this year marks the first time the Peer Help Line has made a serious attempt to promote itself to Brantford students. In the past, BACCHUS (now Healthy Lifestyles Committee) has been the primary promoter of the Peer Help line on the Brantford campus, but only so much as it fell under their general mandate of student health.
This year, the Peer Help Line hopes to participate in at least one or two events on the Brantford campus. As a first step, the Peer Help Line has already been included in this year’s Orientation Week. They hope to attend or host at the very least a second event in the latter half of the year.
With their new attempt at an outreach to the Brantford campus, the Peer Help Line has also begun prepping their phone line volunteers to deal with a second campus. The Peer Help Line is divided into two halves, external and internal. The External Coordinator is Paige Goodman who describes the external portion of the committee as “the face of Peer Help Line.” They carry out numerous awareness campaigns including mental health awareness, suicide prevention and awareness, and alcohol awareness. In this regard, they function similarly to Brantford’s Healthy Lifestyles Committee but with the added goal of promoting the internal side of the Peer Help Line. Jaclin Whaley is the Internal Coordinator for Peer Help Line and describes the line as a “confidential, listing, information and referral service.” Peer Help Line internal volunteers handle all the help line calls, and they ensure confidentiality and remain anonymous themselves. Each Peer Help Line volunteer is equipped to handle student stress and personal issues, with all of them being trained in crisis management.
With the newfound focus on bringing service to Brantford, the Peer Help Line internal volunteers will have to brush up on their knowledge of the campus, particularly since few, if any, members of the committee have ever been to the Brantford campus. Goodman attributes a renewed effort in communication between the campuses for this year’s effort in bringing Peer Help Line to Brantford students in a more meaningful way.
In addition to the Peer Help Line, Brantford students have a number of services available to them to deal with health concerns; be they physical or mental. The university provides a small but dedicated staff of physicians and therapists who work with students throughout the year. In addition, there are other student committees such as the newly revamped Healthy Lifestyles Committee who work on numerous campaigns and initiatives aimed at improving and maintaining student health. The addition of the Peer Help Line to the Brantford campus is just one more link in the ever expanding network of services dedicated to supporting students here at Laurier Brantford.