Saturday, November 27, 2010

Spill: anonymously share you problems and recieve help from other students

Resources for college students needing help with personal problems is typically available through professional counseling on campus. However, a lot of students don't take advantages of these services. 82% cite that embarrassment was the number one factor as to why they haven't utilized counseling services before. A new website available on 10 campuses nationwide (thus far) allows students to ask other students for advice and help anonymously. Students post their personal problems on "Spill" and receive responses from trained student supporters within 24 hours. If the school subscribes to the service, any student with a .edu e-mail address can "spill". Each Spill is responded to by 4-6 student volunteers that are trained in effective listening and writing empathetic responses. This allows the spiller to see different perspectives on their problem that might be able to help them more.

This new service will help both students and the schools alike. This service will help schools see what is really bothering their students and can aid in suicide prevention, risk mitigation, see suggestions for improvements in the school, and can boost retention rates. It also collects the data from all the schools and allows the school to see where students are having the most problems within their own institution and compared to the other subscribers to the service. It's great because it's non-threatening to students who are receiving help and allows the schools to see where help is needed.


eschmidt said...

I think that this is one of the best ideas that I've heard in a really long time. There are so many students on college campuses that are coping with personal issues that do not seek help because they are embarrassed to admit that they are seeking treatment. It can also be embarrassing for students to open up about certain problems with a counselor. These anonymous workers can provide a great outlet for students to talk about their problems. I like that the "spill" service can send reports to schools about the problems that students are most commonly facing. This can help schools and organizations to plan events that support these causes. I think that this service could be useful not only in college campuses, but also in Elementary, Middle and High schools.

Annie Tillmann said...

Definitely! In middle school, we had a Student Leadership Council that was a group of students elected by teachers that were trained to help mediate issues between students. I think organizations of students to help other students is extremely beneficial to both the people being helped and those doing the helping. I was lucky enough to be asked to be a mediator and it really helped me think of things from different perspectives and opened my mind to things, all while helping other students resolve some of their problems. Peer to peer is a lot less intimidating, especially through an anonymous service such as Spill. It said in the article that the service has been brought to other campuses when students brought the idea up to be worked into the budget, but I'm not sure to whom a suggestion like this should be brought up.

scalhoun said...

I think this is a great idea. A lot of students here are afraid to get professional help. Most of the time, they don't know what to say or are afraid of being seen in CCS. Spill is really beneficial in several ways; you're talking to a student, which can be really reassuring if you're having problems in a class they happened to have difficulty with, too. It also helps remove the stigma of getting help; if you're talking to a student and not a counselor, it just doesn't seem so terrible.