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Implementing a peer support program for improving university student wellbeing: The experience of program facilitators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Dimity A. Crisp, Debra Rickwood, Bridgette Martin, Nicola Byrom

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-126
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Accepted/In press1 Jan 2020
Published1 Aug 2020

King's Authors


Peer support programs offer a promising approach to addressing the high levels of stress and psychological distress reported by university students. However, few studies have considered the impact of implemented programs on the wellbeing and skill development of student facilitators. This study examines the experiences of student facilitators of a guided peer support program for reducing and preventing stress and low mood in student participants. Benefits to student facilitators, anticipated and actual, include the development of skills and experience in group facilitation, and a greater sense of community and belonging. While challenges exist in establishing initiatives, peer support and mentoring programs can offer valuable benefits by increasing wellbeing and fostering skill development for both participants and student facilitators. It is important that university-based peer support programs consider the student facilitator experience in both program development and evaluation and ensure training addresses facilitator concerns, prepares students adequately for the role, and considers the benefits for individual professional development.

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