Student SPILL Offers Peer Support for Stressed Students

Student Spill
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When you’re feeling stressed or depressed, it can be good to talk your troubles out. But sometimes admitting problems to friends and family can be sort of embarrassing. That’s why we think Student SPILL is such a good idea.

This website – founded in 2009 by then-college junior Heidi Allstop – lets stressed students with an .edu address anonymously write in with their roommate, boyfriend, or school problems and more. And they’re guaranteed to get responses from four to six trained peer volunteers within 24 hours.

“When I was in college, like a lot of students, I had trouble adjusting, was feeling insecure and self-conscious. Students have friends who are willing to listen, but they don’t want to burden other people with their problems. I called the student counseling center and was told there was a two week wait to see a counselor (at many schools the wait is as long as five weeks!). By that time students’ problems have changed and it’s too late to give them the support they need,” she told Ypulse.

The project has earned some major press coverage, including a write-up in The New York Times. And it’s helped students, too: Ypulse reports, “Student Spill has not only provided support for hundreds of students, it’s prevented 8 suicides, getting students to help within an hour or two. Such crises don’t go to student supporters, but instead go to trained professionals for immediate help.”

Student Spill is currently operating at more than 18 campuses, and Allstop says she is beginning to focus on community colleges. So far, the peer counseling approach seems to be finding fans among those who use it. According to the website, “SPILL earned a satisfaction rating of 9.2 out of 10 from students, with 100% of users saying that every campus should have the program and that they would tell a friend about SPILL.”

You can watch a YouTube movie about Student SPILL here:

Then tell us: What’s your tried-and-true method for getting the stress out?

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