At SMU, we have a group called Peer Helpers – full-time undergraduate students trained in helping skills, who work closely with the professional counsellors at our Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness Centre. Their role is to provide a listening ear and emotional support for their peers during times of need. Find out more about why and how to connect with a Peer Helper when you’re feeling stressed.
By Justin Ong, SMU School of Social Sciences
University life brings about many sources of stress, from project deadlines to CCA commitments. The good news is that you don’t have to face it all by yourself.
Before starting university, most Singaporean men would have taken a hiatus from their studies to serve their national service. I, too, had just completed my time in green before entering my freshman year at SMU. Having spent some time away from books and examinations, I felt completely unprepared for university life. Everyone around me seemed to be handling the same responsibilities much better than I was.
Perhaps it was chance or coincidence that I enrolled for a module called “SSGS003: Peer Mentoring and Facilitation” in one of my first few semesters. As part of the course, we practiced role-playing scenarios that helped us to learn about engaging others who may be in need of emotional support. When I found myself role-playing a scenario similar to my own, I realised that it was very helpful for me to open up and talk to someone else about the issues I was facing. Through this module, I also learnt how important it is to have a peer support network.
Now that I’m a trained Peer Helper, I’ve gained more insights into how stress can be managed. One of the very first few things we learn as peer helpers is to “love thyself before loving others”. This has made me more aware of my own state of mental health, and has helped me to understand the importance of maintaining my own emotional hygiene.
The process of heightening my own self-awareness has also inevitably helped me to be more open about looking for support when I need it. After all, we can only help others effectively if our own mental and emotional states are taken care of first.
If you ever need a listening ear, the Peer Helpers will be there for you! Visit us at Cosy Haven, which is located next to Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness Centre. You can also make an appointment with a counsellor through phone or email.
No matter what stress you’re going through – you don’t have to face it all by yourself.