Our ultimate goal is to train students as peer leaders in suicide prevention and mental health promotion!
Our research shows that young people are highly motivated to support their peers who are in distress or crisis. Students are particularly empathetic to peers who are suffering from similar issues that they themselves have gone through and thus want to reach out to those in need. Having experience volunteering in support schemes also increases students’ sense of competence and motivation to learn to be better at supporting others.
A study completed in 2020 identified clear advantages of training students to become leaders in their own school communities to support peers who are in distress or crisis (Wong et al., 2021 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/josh.13094 ).
Why train students?
Better Knowledge of What Works
Students understand help-seeking barriers and incentives from an insider’s perspective and can contribute to more effective solutions.
Better Reach for Students in Need
Young people in distress or crisis can reach out more easily when surrounded by a stronger support network of trained and trusted peers.
Better Resource and Coverage
Adopting bottom-up as well as top-down approaches greatly increases manpower (students) to support the school’s universal and selective interventions, freeing up social workers to tend to higher-risk and indicated cases.
Better Wellbeing for the future
Students who are learning to be wellbeing leaders today are transforming the community’s wellbeing tomorrow.
1. Student Gatekeepers will be educated about mental health, suicide, and help-seeking, as well as train in practical skills to become empathetic and caring peer supporters who effectively identify and respond to peers in distress and refer them to relevant resources.
2. Student Community to have improved help-seeking attitude and behaviour in times of distress and crisis, and stronger support network in school through influences and works of student leaders, ensuring students get the support and help they need.
3. Student-Led Project in School aims to empower student leaders with experience in designing and implementing effective mental health projects. Supported by school staff and expert consultation, the project will help students develop their competence and ownership in building a positive and supportive school environment.
4. School Staff members to have greater understanding of youth’s mental health and suicide issues, and build capacity to support student leadership in school for mental health promotion and suicide prevention.