St. Bonaventure University provides digital peer support to their students by way of SAMHSA grant

SBU integrates anonymous peer support alongside existing peer-led programs on campus

We are thrilled to announce that students at St. Bonaventure University now have access to a clinically moderated mental health support resource. Through a newly established collaboration withTogetherall, students can engage with a global community of peers, offering and receiving support in a safe and anonymous online environment, available 24/7/365. 

Based in the rural southwestern region of New York, St. Bonaventure University (SBU) is small, private institution home to nearly 2,500 students. Given its rural setting, SBU students look within their own community for many resources, including mental health support. Del Rey M. Honeycutt, Ph.D., Health Psychologist and Associate Dean for Student and Community Wellbeing, and her team are always searching for new and innovative ways to support their students’ mental health and wellbeing. We asked Dr. Honeycutt about the challenges on campus that led her to seek out Togetherall. She shared, 

“With certain social platforms, it seemed our students felt comfortable expressing distress or concerns due to the anonymity they offer. Togetherall offers a similar space for our students, but because there are trained peer supports and it is monitored by mental health professionals, I believe it provides a safer environment (i.e., free from judgement and bullying) for students to express thoughts and feelings. I also appreciate that we’ll be able to work together if any of our students state they are experiencing a mental health emergency. We know that not all students feel comfortable seeking professional support, but most feel comfortable talking to a peer. We also know that our students have grown up with social media and using different platforms anonymously.” 

Dr. Honeycutt and her team received a SAMHSA grant, which allowed them to sign on with Togetherall. “Our goal is to raise awareness related to the importance of mental health and be preventative,” she said. “We would like to reach as many students as possible to provide care and be proactive in the mental health crisis.” 

But why digital peer support, and why Togetherall? 

“Our university has a peer support model through the resident assistants and various peer leader positions, such as our Bona HEALS program, so we know it works and benefits our students,” Dr. Honeycutt shared. “Togetherall helps us to move beyond the in-person peer support and offers a community that our students are used to in terms of communication (an online platform) and it’s 24/7. For students who feel less inclined to seek in-person support from our counseling services on campus, this is a good alternative or perhaps a ‘stepping stone.’ Togetherall helps us to be proactive and expand beyond the traditional counseling setting, using technology to our advantage. We need to adapt and change to meet our students where they are.” 

A component of Togetherall’s service that sets us apart from other digital peer support platforms is our round-the-clock clinical oversight – that is, real, live, licensed clinicians monitoring the online community for high-risk language, responding to conversations and escalating cases through the proper channels when necessary. 

In speaking to the significance of Togetherall’s clinical moderation, Dr. Honeycutt shared, 

“The clinical moderation was important because it offers an alternative to other platforms that may be used in an unhealthy way. On an anonymous platform, we can see cyberbullying, which has a detrimental effect on student mental health and wellbeing. With Togetherall, the licensed clinicians provide supportive responses and the community is moderated; therefore, I am trusting that the community will be a healthy environment for our students.” 

Togetherall looks forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with St. Bonaventure University, supporting their students 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 57% 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 usto find out moreabout Togetherall’s online community.