Peer Support Scheme

The process of having someone really listening to me was not only incredibly liberating, it was empowering. It inspired me to overcome the worries I had and to want to help others through theirs. The gift of listening is indescribably valuable.

two students talkingLSE wants your studying and working environment to be welcoming and inclusive. However we realise that, at times, this environment can be challenging.

At these times it can be useful to speak to somebody who has been through something similar and the LSE Peer Support Programme seeks to be reflective of the diversity of the LSE student body as a whole:

  • Supporters from different ethnic, cultural, national and religious backgrounds
  • Disabled and non-disabled Supporters
  • Supporters from LGBT+ backgrounds
  • Supporters from different age groups and different genders
  • Supporters with experience of caring responsibilities.

Watch a video about the Peer Support Scheme on Youtube.

Peer Support is a proven, successful programme which runs at many universities in the UK and the US. It provides students with a confidential space to talk and be listened to. It can sometimes be hard to talk to friends and family about certain issues, therefore Peer Support provides a crucial service for students to talk to other students about anything they are worried about.

Peer Supporters are not counsellors, nor can they provide you with solutions to your problems. However Peer Supporters have been specifically selected and trained in listening, questioning and responding skills so they can help other students to reach their own solutions. It can be helpful to talk to someone who is non-judgemental, impartial and outside of your situation.  

What can Peer Supporters help me with?

Peer Supporters are available and happy to listen to any problems. 

These are some of the issues that Peer Supporters have supported their fellow students with:

  • Homesickness
  • Stress
  • Financial concerns
  • Your course/the workload
  • Family
  • Eating problems
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Friends and relationships
  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Worries about the future
  • Employment
  • Loneliness
  • Cultural differences
  • Peer pressure
  • Exam anxiety
  • Supporting a friend who is experiencing difficulty
  • Sex, sexual health, contraception or pregnancy
  • Self harm
  • Suicidal thoughts.

Peer Supporters can also tell you where else in the School you can get more specialist help and support.

Who are the Peer Supporters and how do I contact them?

 Peer Support is now in its eighth year at LSE. The current group of undergraduate Peer Supporters completed their 30 hour training programme in 2019 and receive ongoing training and supervision throughout the academic year with the LSE Student Counselling Service.  

We have 25 undergraduate and three postgraduate Peer Supporters for 2019-20. Some Peer Supporters are based in halls, others are based on campus.

Please find a list of our Peer Supporters (undergraduate students on pages 1-9 and PhD students on page 10) with some information about them, and their email addresses.

We run separate trainings for undergraduate and MRes/ PhD students.

All Peer Supporters can be contacted by any student regardless of their year of study, whether they are living in a hall of residence or in private accommodation. Peer Support is not a buddy system for freshers, anyone can contact a peer supporter, to talk over anything they wish, in confidence.

You can arrange to meet a Peer Supporter on or near campus, in or near an LSE hall of residence.

Any LSE student can contact any Peer Supporter. 

We are currently accepting applications for postgraduate Peer Supporters for the current academic year and will accept undergraduate Peer Support applications in January 2020 for the following academic year. Please see the section below for further information.

How can I become a Peer Supporter?

Applications to become a Peer Supporter in the 2020/21 academic year will be accepted until 31 March 2020.

Applicants will be interviewed at the start of the summer term, or in the holiday just before it if you are available. The training will take place during the last week of the summer term, and for 1 or 2 days at the start of Michaelmas term 2020.

The scheme is open to undergraduates and MRes/PhD students and 2 year Masters students. 

Please access further information on recruitment and the application form from January 2020.

Watch a video about how to become a Peer Supporter on YouTube.

If you have any questions about the application process, please email s.ward@lse.ac.uk

Frequently Asked Questions

What does confidentiality mean?

Everything you talk about to a Peer Supporter is kept between you and the Peer Supporters and the LSE counsellor who supervises them. All the Peer Supporters have signed a document to this effect.

However in certain situations for the safety of the person seeking help, for the safety of the wider community and the Peer Supporter, they may need to disclose certain information and will inform you of this whenever possible.

In such circumstances, breaking confidentiality does not mean that what you have shared becomes public knowledge. A Peer Supporter will only tell the relevant person/s with regard to maintaining safety i.e. a Warden or LSE counsellors.

Peer Supporters will never share anything you have told them with their friends.

Will talking to a Peer Supporter really help me

Talking to a Peer Supporter is not guaranteed to help, however 'a problem shared is a problem halved'.

Peer support schemes have been successful at other universities as they allow an informal, confidential and student-led method of support. Hopefully, Peer Supporters enable a student to feel more at ease than in a formal setting. They can possibly relate to a fellow student in a more successful manner than a professional who is no longer a student.

Who supports the Peer Supporters?

The Peer Supporters attend supervision with an LSE Student Counsellor every two weeks. In this way, the Peer Supporters can learn more and talk about what difficulties, pressures or issues they themselves might have.

What if the Peer Supporter doesn’t understand and can’t help me?

If you find that talking to the Peer Supporter has not provided the level of support and help you desired, there are other services designed to help you at LSE and in the wider community. The Peer Supporter is trained and will be happy to help you find a suitable method of support. The LSE Counselling service provides more formal help and there is a 20-minute drop-in slot available every afternoon at the Student Counselling Service. It may also be helpful to contact a GP in London. A list of other external resources is available here.   

Can I choose which Peer Supporter I contact?

Yes. Find out more about the Peer Supporters by reading their biographies. This list also contains their individual contact details. There might be some Peer Supporters based in your hall of residence, however any LSE students can contact any Peer Supporter. Just drop them an email with your contact details so they can get back to you.

Is my problem too small and irrelevant?

No. No problem is too small. Peer Supporters are there to help you with any worry, concern or issue.  A Peer Supporter also understands that what may seem small to some may be a big concern for others.

Can I use Peer Support to get help for my friend?

We are trained to support the person in front of us. We can listen to your worries regarding someone else and if you feel they are in danger or are a danger to others its important to encourage that friend to contact the counselling service or their GP and come and speak with a counsellor. Drop in sessions are at 3:00 pm each day at the Student Counselling Service - your friend can talk to a counsellor the same day.

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Student Counselling Service, 4th Floor, Fawcett House (FAW), Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE