Peer Helpers from our 2016 pioneering batch visiting SMU peer helpers programme
Why We Started the Raffles Peer Helpers Programme
As counselors in Raffles Guidance Centre, we were very aware that there was a segment of the student population that we were not able to reach out to, despite all our efforts to make ourselves available and publicise our services. We are cognizant of the fact that most students would prefer to seek out their fellow students or peers for help, rather than their parents, teachers or us counselors. We would often get friends stepping into our counseling offices asking us for advice on how best to help their friends whom they were concerned about.
Peer Helpers Programme (PHP)
After much thought, we decided that the logical way forward would be to train up a number of student peer helpers in basic peer helping, counseling skills and mental health issues. These peer helpers would be widely available and dispersed throughout the student population, and be more approachable than adults, and would have some skills and knowledge in how to help students in need, and if the issues were beyond their skill level, they would know how to refer them for further help. And thus, the Monday Morning Enrichment Programme of Peer Helpers Programme (PHP) was started in 2016.
Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW)
Furthermore, we realised that these peer helpers could help us to organise an annual Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) to advocate for and increase knowledge about Mental Health in the school. The inaugural week long MHAW was organised in 2016, and was titled “Accept.Aware.Assist”.
My Rest Space (MRS)
We also envisaged the peer helpers helping to man a quiet, safe space in RI where students could come to speak to a peer helper, or just rest, relax and recharge themselves. This became a reality in 2017 when My Rest Space was initiated.
We are fully aware that PHP, MHAW and MRS are very new programmes and initiatives, and welcome feedback and suggestions on how to improve them. Do drop us an email if you have any ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Woo Mei Hui and Ms. Chua Kah Hwee
Teacher Mentors for PHP