Peer Support Virtual Hub

Students Helping Students

Peer Support is a student-operated service that provides students with a safe, confidential environment to discuss life’s stresses and tough situations with a trained listener.

Get Involved
Volunteering can provide
opportunities to develop
supportive listening skills.

Learn More ›

Live Chat ›
Hour of Operations
Monday – Friday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Access Live Chat ›

Video Chat
Hour of Operations
Coming Soon
TBD

Access Video Chat ›

Need Assistance Outside of Peer Support Hours?

For those needing assistance outside of the above hours, please consider contacting one of the following:

  • If it is an active emergency and/or life is at risk, please dial 911.
  • The Distress Line is available to provide confidential, non-judgmental and short-term crisis intervention, emotional support and resources to people in crisis or distress. Dial 780-482-4357 to be connected to a listener.

Peer Support Resources

Stress is a common and normal issue for a student to experience. It can be the result of any number of problems.

Signs of stress can be physical, emotional, or behavioural. Some common symptoms of feeling stressed include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Indecisiveness

Stress is the result of an imbalance between demands and coping strategies. When the demands placed on us are greater than our ability to cope with them, we experience stress.

The key to handling stress is to regain balance by increasing our coping strategies to deal with the demands. When we look at coping, we want to be doing things that are both external and internal. It is essential to develop a strong social system, break up your routine, take care of your body, and ask for help when needed.

Some of our favourite ideas for external coping include:

  • Talk to someone you trust
  • Reach out to a family member to chat
  • Hang out with friends
  • Form a study group
  • Ask someone to be an accountability partner

Some of our favourite ideas for internal coping include:

  • Exercise
  • Taking a break
  • Napping
  • Watching your favourite Netflix show
  • Cooking a meal
  • Deep breathing or meditation

Here are some additional resources for help with dealing with stress

 

Relationships, even healthy ones, can be a cause of stress for individuals. We have relationships of all sorts that create different experiences. It is normal for relationships to change and grow. It is essential for you to define what you want out of a relationship and what you are willing to give. Relationships can be healthy, unhealthy, or abusive.

Healthy relationships can look like:

  • More good times than bad times
  • Open communication
  • Feeling comfortable and supported
  • Having a life outside of the relationship

Unhealthy relationships can look like:

  • More bad times then good times
  • Feeling pressure and control
  • Focusing all energy on that relationship
  • Confusion and general unhappiness
  • Dropping other people or activities you enjoy

Abusive relationships can look like:

  • Extreme jealousy and/or control
  • Yelling and/or name-calling
  • Threats and/or physical violence
  • Pressure to have sex
  • Stealing and/or withholding finances
  • Monitoring of what you are doing at all times
  • Any of the above behaviour happening around children

Unhealthy relationships and abusive relationships can happen to anyone, and it is essential to know that it is not your fault and not ok. There are steps you can take. It is necessary to familiarize yourself with the resources you have access to. In less severe situations, actively trying to improve your relationship along with the resources can help.

Abusive relationships involve a pattern of behaviour that form a cycle. An abusive incident may occur. After the incident, there is a period of “good times” where things seem to get better. The individual may even try to make amends, and things may seem to go back to “normal.” The good times eventually fade, and tension starts to build up. Individuals often describe this as walking on eggshells when they know that an outburst is coming. This cycle repeats and continues. There are four things you need to know:

  1. The cycle tightens
  2. The good times shrink/disappear
  3. The violence escalates
  4. The cycle does not end without intervention

Here are a list of resources to help if you find yourself in an unhealthy or abusive relationship:

Mental health concerns are common and affect a large portion of the student population. Mental health affects our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Any number of sources can create a problem for our mental health. Situational factors such as failing a test, grief, relationship problems, financial struggles can affect our mental health. These factors can result in depression and anxiety, or many other mental health concerns.

Mental health problems are common, and help is available. It is essential to reduce the stigma of having a mental health problem. The best way to do this is not to pass judgment, know the facts yourself, and offer to support others when you can.

Some signs that an individual may be suffering from mental health issues include, but are not limited too:

  • Having low or no energy
  • Isolating themselves
  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Problems concentrating
  • Inability to perform daily tasks
  • Dramatic changes in weight
  • Apathy
  • Feeling paranoid, worry, or anxiety
  • Constant irritability or anger
  • Substance abuse
  • Changes in school performance

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health challenges, seek help. Trained individuals and resources can help individuals feel better. Different things work for different people. Some people find talking to a trained professional to be the best way to help. Others find that working with a psychiatrist to find the right medication works best for them. Depending on the scale of the problem implementing routines and self-help can be a good starting point. Finding what works for you is the most crucial part of becoming more mentally healthy.

Here are some additional resources to help in your road to better mental health:

  • SAMU Peer Support – We are here to listen no matter how big or small the problem. Reach out to us through the information above.
  • MacEwan Wellness and Psychological Services – Free counselling to MacEwan students
  • 211 – Alberta community services line
  • 1-877-303-2642 – Mental health helpline

Suicide can be scary to talk about but talking about it can save lives. It is one of the leading causes of death for young people and can affect anyone. There are several reasons individuals die by suicide or attempt suicide. It usually is associated with feelings of being overwhelmed, helplessness, and isolation. Suicide can affect anyone, even if they don’t have a mental health condition.

Most deaths by suicide do not happen without warning. There are many warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide.

Signs of suicide include but are not limited to:

  • Drastic changes in behaviour
  • Feeling hopelessness or isolation
  • Depression, anger, sadness, mood swings, or outbursts
  • Feeling unbearable pain
  • Withdrawing for friends and family
  • Reckless behaviour
  • Discussing wanting to die and/or making jokes about suicide
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about
  • Getting one’s affair in order

Some people who are having thoughts of suicide experience something called ambivalence. Ambivalence is being stuck in between two choices. In this instance, it is the choice between wanting to live and wanting to die. In the end, it is ultimately about wanting to end the pain. They can also sometimes feel as though they have no one to reach out to or that they are a burden to those around them.

If you notice some of these signs in others, reach out to them. Remember talking about it can save lives.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out to someone and seek help!

Here are some places that you can reach out to if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts:

Have you had a conversation with Peer Support? Let us know how we are doing.