Publication Type

Conference Paper

Book Title/Conference/Journal

12th Asia--Pacific Student Services Association Conference 2010




Students helping students as a concept is widely used in colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. One study observed that up to 78% of these educational institutions employed University and College students as peer helpers, educators and para-professionals in support of various programs (Klein, Sondag & Drolet, 1994). Since 2003, the Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Centre for Counseling and Guidance (CCG) have actively promoted, trained and developed undergraduates to serve alongside the counselors as Peer Helpers. This is part of the overarching strategy of the Centre to build an "Emotional Safety Net" across the entire student community so that students experiencing emotional or mental health distresses would be quickly identified by a peer helper and attended to within the shortest possible amount of time.

This paper outlines the structure, recruitment and training of the peer helpers as well as the focus of the program vis-à-vis the overall strategy of the CCG. In addition, we will discuss the impact of the program amongst the student community and the influence of the program in the shaping of positive helping-seeking behaviors as well as the general perception towards counseling and its benefits.


counseling, university counselors, peer helping, wellness


Higher Education and Teaching | Student Counseling and Personnel Services