Why Peer Wellbeing Support is Important
"The student experience is unique...leaving home, moving country, academic and financial pressures..However it is this shared experience of a specific set of circumstances that places the student community in a good positon to deliver valuable peer support models" (Byrom & Gulliver, 2016)
There is evidence to suggest that the majority of university students in the UK would prefer to approach peers for help in the first instance (Pitman Sharpington, Stock & Cage, 2019).
Student populations report higher levels of subjective psychological distress and poor mental health compared to the general population, with approximately 1 in 3 undergraduates experiencing mental health problems. Accessing early intervention support could prevent a more severe mental health issue developing. Sessions are booked ad-hoc, meaning students will not have to wait too long for help.
Thomas (2012) proposed that peer support has specific benefits that contribute to helping students to remain and be successful in Higher Education:
- Promote academic integration and belonging
- Develop students’ confidence as learners in HE
- Improve students’ motivation to study and succeed
- Offer a source of academic help and enable students to cope with their academic study
- Share tacit knowledge, such as module choice and how to prepare for assessments
- Provide emotional support
- Offer practical support
- Allow students to compare themselves against others and gain reassurance