NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

Peer Wellness Coaching

Areej Qamar
Graphic by Areej Qamar

The author is an employee of this organization. 

Binge drinking, living off of cheap ramen, and staying up all night — these are the behaviors commonly attributed to college students. Although these unhealthy habits may not be the case for many students at NJIT, almost 70% of students report wishing to make changes in their lives for physical and mental wellness. However, many of these students also admit that they find it difficult to keep themselves accountable for significant periods of time.  

Peer Wellness Coaching is an initiative started by the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, or C-CAPS, in conjunction with Campus Health Services. It aims to bridge the gap between students and the goals that they seek to transform into reality. Students meet with peer coaches, who are trained to coach rather than provide professional medical or psychological advice, each week to discuss their wellness and goals. In this way, coaching can act as a preventative measure.  

In 2022, over 60% of college students met the criteria for one mental health problem, according to the American Psychological Association. However, a study by the University of Michigan reported that only around 37% of students used counseling services or therapy, meaning that a significant portion of students who could be suffering do not seek the support that they may need.  

The silver lining in this situation, however, is that programs utilizing peer counseling utilize other students who can relate to their academic and social companions and provide a support net. One benefit is that students who are in urgent need of support are quickly redirected to professional therapists and psychologists. However, peer coaches also provide a private resource for students to discuss any issues or simply talk about their lives, as one would with a fellow student or friend.  

Although Peer Wellness Coaching is not directly under the jurisdiction of C-CAPS, the two are closely connected — the program was initiated by director of campus health services Deneen Scuderi, director of counseling services Dr. Phyllis Bolling, and part-time clinician Hannah Byrd. The program also has several peer coaches enrolled as graduate and undergraduate students at NJIT in order to facilitate more effective coaching for both populations.  

Byrd stated, “This semester, Peer Wellness Coaching is excited to welcome students to the newly renovated Warren Street Lounge for coaching and other wellness activities.” In addition, she commented that the program will have expanded hours. “Not only is coaching expanding its hours to be able to meet with even more students in the lounge, the coaches will also continue partnering with more faculty, staff, and student groups to present on wellbeing across campus.” 

Students take a pre- and post-survey after coaching sessions to assess its effectiveness. Anonymous responses about the most helpful part about their experience in Peer Wellness Coaching at NJIT include “the openness of everyone” and “their motivation to help,” “being able to talk about things . . . without feeling judged,” and “being able to have a space to get your feelings out . . . it’s something that really is valuable during someone’s time in NJIT.” 

 An anonymous student said, “I feel supported and comfortable talking with the coaches.” Another said, “it helped me know that I’m not alone,” and a further response read, “it gives me some sort of encouragement to approach others — we could form some sort of friendship as we get through college together.”  

Peer Wellness Coaching can be accessed in the Warren Street Lounge behind Smashburger from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays.  

Coaching is available for undergraduate and graduate students alike, and time slots are available via appointments and walk-in meetings. To book an appointment or learn more, visit https://www.njit.edu/healthservices/peer-coaching. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Vector

Your donation will support the student journalists of New Jersey Institute of Technology. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Mrunmayi Joshi, Managing Editor
Areej Qamar, Executive Editor
Donate to The Vector

Comments (0)

All The Vector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *