Nightline Peer Listening public ambassadors and Well-Woman peer educators requested support for publicizing their resources and reaching more of the student body at Barnard Student Government Association’s meeting Monday.
Representatives from both campus groups said that students are not taking full advantage of their services, and they hope to establish more of a presence on campus. Nightline is a confidential resource students can call between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. to speak with a trained peer listener, while Well-Woman is a Barnard service providing counseling and resources for a variety of matters to students.
Ambassadors for Nightline Peer Listening, Albert Kohn, GS/JTS ’18 and Lena Denbroeder, BC ’19, discussed the importance of Nightline as a resource on campus, calling for increased support approximately a year after a string of student suicides at Columbia.
Their request coincides with a recent update from Dean of Columbia College James Valentini about Columbia’s progress in improving mental health resources and policies since it began a partnership with the suicide nonprofit JED last April.
Because Nightline is anonymous, Kohn said it can be difficult to publicize the service as an accessible resource for students. Kohn and Denbroeder said that their goal is for Nightline to become normalized on campus and for every student to be comfortable in their knowledge of what Nightline does.
“Though we are not professional counselors and we are very clear that we are volunteers, we can offer immediate support without the wait time or without the intake call that at times can make it really challenging to rely upon the other mental health resources that exist on this campus,” Kohn said.
SGA President Angela Beam, BC ’18, said that SGA would include a statement about Nightline and its phone number in future student body emails.
Additionally, Well-Woman peer educators Aneliza Ruiz, BC ’19, and Samantha Step, BC ’18, asked SGA for support in leading initiatives that would get students into their office and promote a stronger campus community. Well-Woman is currently working on publishing a video tour on its website to familiarize students with its office and present it as a student space.
“I think that there has been some pretty big feelings or narrative that people don’t care, or that the community doesn’t care for each other … but there are always students who care,” Denbroeder said. “We hope to make sure that everyone feels cared about and feels listened to.”