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Peer Support Strategies for Surviving College & University

Admission into college, or university, can present opportunities and challenges. Access to education can be a privilege, which can provide a series of life long opportunities and rewards.  However, the years leading up to graduation (and sometimes afterwards) can be filled with a series of emotional and financial stressors. These stressors can be compounded by poor life skills and a lack of appropriate support.

Peer support groups can be used to alleviate some of the stressors, associated with the educational experience. Further, there is a large amount of collective knowledge that exists within the student community. When students connect with their peers, they can form a community of care. Peer support groups enable students to connect with other students, who might be experiencing similar life challenges. Through the groups students are provided with a forum to discuss personal issues, and to share ideas for optimizing their life and educational experience.

Below are three options that students can use to enhance their educational experience:

  1. Students can take advantage of the peer support programs offered through their student association.

Most students are unaware of the many services provided through their student association. The student association provides a variety of programs, including peer support programs. Most student associations provide individual mentoring and group peer support options. These options allow students to connect with other students, experiencing (or who have experienced) similar challenges.

  1. Students can get social by joining a student club.

Facebook is not the only place to make friends. Clubs are a great way to meet and socialize with other students. Students can either choose to join or start their own club. There are a variety of clubs that students can join (i.e. drama, fencing, debate, comedy, walking, etc.).

  1. Students can improve their grades by joining a study group.

In order to graduate students need to pass their courses. Forming a study group with a group of likeminded and committed peers can be very helpful. Study groups allow students to share best practices, which can support effective note taking, and the adoption of healthy habits for staying alert and retaining information.




Group Name: EVERYBODY HAS A BRAIN – Toronto

Area(s) of Focus: Recovery, Mental Illness, Mental Health, Anxiety Disorders, Addictions, Meditation, Prevention, Exercise, Nutrition

Description: We focus on maintaining and improving great mental health by supporting each other in eliminating unhealthy compulsions, learning how to embrace uncertainty, and bringing healthy changes into our lives.

We recognize that everybody has a brain, so everybody has varying levels of improvable mental health. We are open to everybody, regardless of any labels or diagnoses you’ve stumbled across before. We put health first, not illness first. And in moving towards a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life, we are all peers that can support each other.

Checkout the EVERYBODY HAS A BRAIN YouTube channel to get an idea for our approach to dealing with mental health challenges:

Where: Self-Help Resource Centre, 40 St. Clair Ave. East, over the Deer Park Library.

When: TBD see Meetup page for current info:


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