Group of Illinois colleges & universities integrates peer-to-peer support alongside traditional services, aligned with state legislation requiring peer support component for higher ed students
August 22 2023
We are excited to announce that students at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Harper College, Northern Illinois University, McHenry County College, Oakton College, Chicago State University, Governors State University, and Eastern Illinois University can now access a clinically moderated mental health support resource where they can connect with a global community of peers with shared lived experiences. The institutions launched a partnership with Togetherall, a safe and anonymous space in which students can benefit from an online peer-to-peer community by giving and getting support 24/7.
In 2019, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Illinois’ Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act, intended to address gaps in mental health services on college and university campuses across Illinois, including both two-year and four-year institutions. Recognizing that peer support may be beneficial to improving the emotional wellbeing of the student population, Section 35 of the legislation requires each public college or university to develop and implement a peer support program with a focus on utilizing best practices for peer support.
In alignment with the State’s legislation, Togetherall was thrilled to partner with these Illinois institutions and provide a safe, anonymous digital peer-to-peer support community that’s accessible 24/7, as well as clinically overseen and moderated round-the-clock by licensed clinicians. Togetherall not only meets statute requirements fully, but actually exceeds the legislation, as we deliver a peer support program that the entire student population can access instantly.
“McHenry County College’s top priority is our students and their success. This includes a focus on students’ total health and wellbeing. We are very pleased to begin working with Togetherall, in alignment with the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act, to enhance our existing mental health services that will continue to support our students so they can achieve all of their goals happily and successfully.”
— MCC Director of Student Engagement and Support, Rachel Boldman, Ed.D.
How does Togetherall serve the legislation?
Togetherall is a clinically moderated peer-to-peer support community. For more than 15 years, we have provided a safe space to empower students to give and receive support for a full range of mental health concerns. We keep the community anonymous, healthy, and vibrant through clinical moderation. Togetherall offers:
- A peer-to-peer community that is anonymous and monitored 24/7 by licensed clinicians
- Our Trained Peers Program, where students participate in regular group supervisory meetings with other Trained Peers, receive Togetherall clinical training, and earn a certificate of achievement as a Togetherall Trained Peer.
The following institutions — University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Harper College, Northern Illinois University, McHenry County College, and Chicago State University — have all adopted Togetherall’s Trained Peers Program, a new add-on service, in addition to our digital peer support community.
The program augments the existing benefits students can reap from our peer support community, by training select students in an institution’s population with mental health knowledge and ways to positively support their peers on campus and within the Togetherall community. Since launching our first cohort in the Fall of 2022 in North America, the program has proved greatly successful, and we’ve expanded to now offer this program in the UK as well.
Not only is the program beneficial for the Trained Peers themselves, providing students interested in a career in mental health with practical experience and training, but it acts as an advocacy tool for Togetherall’s community within a given population.
All of the newly partnering colleges and universities are diverse in make-up. The schools also vary in size – from 2,300 to 60,000 – by public and private, community/college/university, and other factors, all speaking to the scalability and population-level efficacy of Togetherall’s service.
See headline demographics for each institution below:
- Enrollment: 56,916
- 6% Black, 13% Hispanic, 22% Asian, 15% US Nonresident
- Enrollment: 12,434
- 27% age 25+
- 4% Black, 32% Hispanic, 13% Asian
- Enrollment: 15,649
- 15% age 25+
- 21% Black, 24% Hispanic, 7% Asian
- Enrollment: 8,874
- 19% age 25+
- 2% Black, 25% Hispanic, 3% Asian
- Enrollment: 7,645
- 35% age 25+
- 7% Black, 20% Hispanic, 23% Asian
- Enrollment: 2,317
- 50% age 25+
- 75% Black, 7% Hispanic, 1% Asian
- Enrollment: 4,427
- 46% age 25+
- 40% Black, 19% Hispanic, 2% Asian
- Enrollment: 8,857
- 12% age 25+
- 15% Black, 16% Hispanic, 4% Asian
Dr. Christine Brown, Ed.D, LCPC, NCC, ACS, Director of the Counseling Center at Chicago State University, reinforced the Counseling Center’s aspirations around the mental health and wellbeing of their students in saying,
“The Counseling Center supports the University’s vision ‘to embrace, engage, educate, enlighten, and empower’ the students at Chicago State University. To advance the University’s mission, the primary focus of Chicago State University’s Counseling Center is to provide comprehensive behavioral health services to our students. As a result, we are pleased to announce a new partnership with Togetherall, that was made possible through the Early Action Mental Health Act and the Illinois Board Higher Education.”
Togetherall looks forward to supporting the students at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Harper College, Northern Illinois University, McHenry County College, Oakton College, Chicago State University, Governors State University, and Eastern Illinois University in the upcoming school year and beyond.
To date, Togetherall is available to 4.6 million students worldwide at more than 450 colleges and universities. In recent survey data, the majority of respondents cited feelings of depression and anxiety as their reason for joining. More than one-third of surveyed students reported that Togetherall is the only mental health support they are using. Registrant data also reflected the diversity of students using Togetherall, with 53% identifying as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color (BIPOC), and 7% identifying as transgender or non-binary.
If you are interested in offering safe and scalable ways to support your students’ mental health, contact us to find out more about Togetherall’s online community.