So much in the world right now is uncertain and challenging, but you don’t have to feel alone.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers a variety of services and resources that support students’ mental health, including a new online community where Lopers can express their feelings and connect with others who share similar experiences.
Togetherall is a virtual, peer-to-peer mental health and well-being support system available at no cost to anyone with a UNK email address. The website provides an anonymous, safe space for college students across the globe to communicate with each other and offer insight, advice and comfort.
“Oftentimes, students turn to social media to make connections, but those relationships aren’t always genuine,” said Kiphany Hof, associate director of counseling at UNK. “We really want to offer students a place where they can find meaningful connections and get accurate and useful information.”
Created in 2007, Togetherall is currently offered at more than 300 colleges and universities, with over 3 million students receiving access to the service. It’s available to Lopers through a partnership between UNK Counseling and UNK Online.
Togetherall serves both on-campus students and those taking classes remotely. Employees can also create an anonymous account using their UNK email address.
The site features a variety of free tools and resources, all available 24/7.
Users can share and respond to posts, access articles and other resources, journal, set goals, complete self-assessments and express themselves creatively by adding a “brick” to the community wall. There are groups you can join – including student life, military, work-life balance and parents and caregivers – and the site allows people to search for specific topics such as anxiety, depression, recovery and relationships.
Togetherall is monitored by licensed mental health practitioners who are available to offer support and guidance. They also intervene if someone is considering self-harm or suicide.
In the midst of a national mental health crisis among high school and college students, Hof wants Lopers to know it’s OK to seek help.
“There’s a huge population of students who are really hesitant to come to counseling,” she said. “By offering an anonymous resource such as Togetherall, we hope to engage more students seeking mental health support.”
MENTAL HEALTH AMBASSADORS
Peer-to-peer support is a key part of UNK’s efforts to promote student well-being.
UNK Counseling, Residence Life and the Health Promotion Office recently launched a Mental Health Ambassadors program to provide an additional resource for students.
Through the program, about 20 resident assistants on campus completed eight hours of Mental Health First Aid training to learn how to recognize and respond to a mental health crisis. The RAs serve as an initial contact, providing support and guidance for fellow Lopers and, when necessary, referring students to professional counseling services on campus.
“We hope to grow that program so more students, or even faculty and staff, have that additional training,” said Hof, who’s also working with the Health Promotion Office to start a Peer Wellness Coaches program on campus.
UNK COUNSELING SERVICES
UNK Counseling provides a range of professional mental health services, including personal, group and substance abuse counseling, crisis intervention, outreach programming and consultation.
Full-time students can schedule up to three counseling sessions per semester, beyond the initial consultation, at no cost. Additional sessions are $10 each. Students who are not enrolled full time are still eligible for counseling services, but there is a fee.
Counseling services are available by appointment only unless there’s an immediate threat to someone’s safety. Call 308-865-8248 or visit the counseling center in the Memorial Student Affairs Building, Room 144, to schedule an appointment. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.