Demand for College Peer Counselors Is Booming. But Training Only Goes So Far

April 22, 2022

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


During the pandemic, some college students are leaning on each other for support. A recent national survey found nearly half of college students were more likely to seek peer counseling due to pandemic-related stress. According to experts, peer support can help supplement—but not replace—mental health care, especially when a person is in crisis. While many student counselors are trained in crisis response, the survey results suggest some are not, with 16 percent unaware of emergency protocols. “It’s imperative the students be uniformly trained,” said Zoe Ragouzeos, president of the Mary Christie Institute, which co-led the survey. “We want them to know what to do when they are encountering a higher-risk situation. The counseling centers need to be front and center in terms of managing these kinds of programs on their campuses. They know what to do if they are involved with a student who seems to need emergency support in that moment.”

Spark Extra! Find resources for preventing suicide on college campuses.