Spotlight on Peers

Sharon Wang

Sharon Wang, Resilience Peer

The most valuable thing that RPN has taught me is that, sometimes, actively listening without any judgement, is all someone may need to feel understood. At times, advice and comforting words are needed, but at other times, all people really want is a open ear and a soft heart. Leading support groups has been life changing for me because I gained a deeper understanding of iCBT, LGBT, mindfulness, the power of silence, trauma, etc. I have never felt more ready to comfort someone in their time of deepest need. RPN is a safe haven where I can be surrounded by people who care about mental health as much as I do, lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it, and relate to those who are struggling every day. The trainings and lessons that we received are invaluable and have honestly made me grow into a better person.

Kyra Huete

Kyra Huete, Resilience Peera

RPN is a unique opportunity to share mental health experiences among empathetic peers within the context of a demanding campus climate. RPN involves an internet-based CBT training that is paired with weekly meetings with other peers. Every peer meeting begins and ends with a mindfulness activity, allowing students to learn about different strategies to improve mental health while taking a much needed break from the many stressors that we face. The bulk of each meeting involves reviewing useful skills to address anxiety and depression among the support of other students, as we build a safe space to grow with one another and work earnestly to better our quality of life. As a mental health advocate, it is exciting to see more and more options available to students that address anxiety and depression, and I look forward to a world that can provide multiple options to address mental health in an accessible, affordable, quality, and personalized way.

Emilia Szmyrgala

Emilia Szmyrgala, Resilience Peer

Through my RPN training, I have realized the importance of being an active listener, and I aim to utilize characteristics of active listening in all my interactions to better connect with the people in my life. As I have learned more about thought distortions, I recognize the ways my mind follows these negative patterns, and I am committed to challenging these thoughts. I am very thankful for the tools RPN has given me, and I am excited to encourage others as they discover the benefits of iCBT for themselves.

Joseph Tsung

Joseph Tsung, Resilience Peer

RPN has been a rewarding experience for me in opening my eyes to the different coping mechanisms that I could practice in self-care. Through the ICBT program, I have become more eager to share with people about these crucial tools to help people become more introspective and emotionally intelligent. There is a lot of potential in this innovative approach of delivering peer-to-peer mental health care and I am excited to be part of the Depression Grand Challenge.

Tania Caseres

Tania Caseres (T-Rex), 3rd-year Psychology major, Music History minor

I firmly believe that mental health is everything. No matter what our purpose or stance in life is, taking care of our mental health helps foster change and well-being and allows us to see and appreciate the beauty in life. It is because of this belief that I joined the Resilience Peer Network program. By integrating the elements of resilience and mindfulness, RPN is at the forefront of researching ways to alleviate the symptoms of depression under the Depression Grand Challenge - a movement I’m honored to be a part of.

Ever since I joined RPN, I learned how valuable cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness can be in helping individuals who struggle with anxiety and depression. It was not until I started facilitating support groups as a Certified Resilience Peer, that I noticed the positive impact this program could have on people. I have seen first-hand how this program can improve people’s resilience skills to help combat their depression and anxiety.

Its influence continues to inspire me and has helped me strengthen my own resilience skills. I have learned to integrate mindfulness into my daily life and because of this, I have grown more self-aware, mindful of my surroundings, and increasingly perceptive of people’s own mental health distress. I have only gratitude that a program like RPN exists and am hopeful that its impact will improve the future of mental health treatment.