Group of New Jersey colleges & universities integrates peer support alongside traditional services by way of a $16mil grant from the State of New Jersey

Rutgers New Brunswick, Rutgers Newark, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Felician University, and New Jersey Institute of Technology adopt the Togetherall peer support community

We are thrilled to announce that students at Rutgers New Brunswick, Rutgers Newark, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Felician University, and New Jersey Institute of Technology 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 the Fall of 2022, Governor Murphy and the State of New Jersey released an announcement for $16 million in grant funding to support the mental health of students in higher education. The announcement stated:

“$15 million will be distributed to eligible institutions of higher education for the creation of community partnerships that will allow the institutions to increase capacity to meet the mental health needs of students. Institutions are encouraged to partner with organizations to deliver services tailored to the unique needs of their student populations. The remaining $1 million will be directed towards professional development opportunities for faculty and staff to build multicultural and increase engagement with their diverse student populations.” *This service is made possible by OSHE: Mental Health in Higher Education: Community Provider Partnerships and Professional Development Grant

Through this critical funding, multiple institutions were able to sign on with Togetherall and integrate a clinically moderated peer support community alongside more traditional mental health services, like in-person counseling.

Togetherall strongly aligned with the mission of Governor Murphy’s grant and saw this as an opportunity to connect with colleges and universities who were an especially good fit for Togetherall’s service – ie., institutions with diverse and underserved populations. As reads in Togetherall’s Commitment to Equity:

“The positive effect of peer-to-peer support on student mental health and wellbeing is well documented (Pfeiffer et al., 2011) and is even more critical for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students who consistently report higher support needs. Yet as data reflects, there is lower mental health service utilization, particularly among Black students (Lipson et al., 2022)

Peer support, when buttressed by 24/7 clinical oversight, immediate crisis intervention, and collaboration with existing campus support services, lays the foundation for accessible, equitable, and inclusive supportive communities to emerge. Togetherall data consistently reflects an overrepresentation of students who identify as BIPOC (48%) and gender non-conforming (5%) affirming that traditionally underserved communities gravitate towards an anonymous, judgment-free community.”

Judith Green, Psy.D., Director of the Center for Health and Counseling Services at Ramapo College, said:

“Ramapo College of New Jersey is excited to expand its mental health services to include Togetherall, which is an online, anonymous peer-to-peer community where students can give and get support. By including Togetherall,  we hope to help students feel more connected as we know this contributes to positive well-being and academic success.”

All of the newly partnering colleges and universities are diverse in make-up. The schools also vary in size – from 2,400 to over 51,000 – 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:

Rutgers New Brunswick:

  • 50,800+ enrollment
  • 34% White, 31% Asian, 7% Black, 14% Latino/Hispanic

Rutgers Newark:

  • 12,000 + enrollment
  • 20% White, 18% Asian, 18% Black, 31% Hispanic/Latino

Ramapo College of New Jersey:

  • 5,700 + enrollment
  • 55% white, 9% Asian, 6% Black, 20% Hispanic/Latino
  • Public liberal arts school

Felician University:

  • 1 of 24 Franciscan Universities in the US
  • ~2400+ enrollment
  • 25% White, 36% Hispanic/Latino, 23% Black, 6% Asian

New Jersey Institute of Technology:

  • ~11,900 enrollment
  • 30% white, 21% Asian, 21% Hispanic/Latino, 9% Black

In addition to signing on with the Togetherall community, Rutgers New Brunswick and Rutgers Newark both opted for our new add-on service, Togetherall’s Trained Peers Program. The program augments the existing benefits students can reap from our peer support community, by training a handful of students in an institution’s population with mental health knowledge and ways to positively support their peers.

“Health Promotion Division (HPD) at Rutgers University Newark advocates for a community of wellbeing and social justice through the power of peer-to-peer support. Through Togetherall’s Trained Peers Program, selected student mental health advocates will be trained to effectively use their lived experience in the RU-N community to encourage stress relief, improve social skills, increase peer connection, and reduce the ‘public health crisis of loneliness and isolation,’ according to the Surgeon General (May 2023),” said Theresa Tantay-Wilson, Director of Health Promotion Division at Rutgers University Newark.

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.

“We’re looking forward to our partnership with Togetherall and are grateful to the NJ Office of the Secretary of Higher Education for their support of this collaboration.  Our goal in working with Togetherall is to provide students with the supports that they need to cope with the everyday normative challenges they face.  We were drawn to Togetherall’s track record for engaging and supporting students who struggle to find a peer group that looks like them. We hope this safe and supportive environment helps our students cope and thrive,” said Noa’A Shimoni, MD, Medical Director, Student Health Services at Rutgers University New Brunswick.

Togetherall is thrilled to support the students at Rutgers New Brunswick, Rutgers Newark, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Felician University, and New Jersey Institute of Technology throughout this school year and beyond.

About Togetherall  

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.