Peer Connect Line no longer required for mental health

Peer Connect Line, a phone line service operated by the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union was meant for students suffering from any degree of mental illness to connect with someone to talk to and be provided resources for taking the next steps towards recovery.

Just before the break, the Students’ Union decided to eliminate the line Peer Connect offers due to a “shift in culture” surrounding what services students need and to make sure efforts are “directed towards getting you more direct access to supports and crisis lines that now exist.”

There is no denying the good intentions of Peer Connect Line, that offered hope and support to those who don’t know where else to find it, but the Students’ Union decision to pull the service may not be so terrible.

Despite volunteer training, script preparation, knowing what to say and how to say it, the line is merely a bridge to the next platform of emergency communication. It’s a referral service that does not necessarily guarantee proper assistance for those dealing with a crisis.

Instead, it points students in the direction in which more help can be acquired.

New support campaigns with mental illness are able to destigmatize and encourage suffering victims to open up about their illness to their friends and family, to eliminate the taboo and maximize the support outreach so people no longer feel alone in their misery.

As much as having a student line to call can be beneficial, it was no longer helping bridge the gap and there are other services looking to help students that need more resources and support. Mental health is an open discussion that needs more discourse and less spread out resources. By shutting down the line, resources open up to combat stigmas in an appropriate way.

Now that resources are more readily available and understood by a wider range of students, it’s easier for students to understand what the next steps are through Wellness Services, instead of calling a number to tell them what these resources are and how to move towards them.

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