Seeking Student Nominees: P.A.W.S. Training Program for Peer Supporters

by Center for Student Mental Health and Well-being

P.A.W.S. (Peer Awareness for Well-being and Support) is a new program at Michigan Tech that equips students with knowledge and tools to effectively recognize signs of a mental health crisis, give appropriate and supportive aid, and refer a peer to professional mental health resources if they’re struggling. The program seeks to involve students from multiple backgrounds and experiences who are natural, key peer supporters on campus and want to help bring a higher level of mental health awareness and advocacy to the Husky community.

Promoting student mental health and well-being is a whole-campus effort, and Michigan Tech students are crucial in helping to support student mental health on campus. Research shows that students who struggle with mental health often reach out to their peers first, while a smaller percentage reach out to their on-campus counseling center.

Over six weeks of training, P.A.W.S. gives students the skills to help peers experiencing crisis or distress. Participants meet each week for one hour. The core purpose of P.A.W.S. is to increase the number of student support leaders on campus who are trained to identify peers in need of aid and confidently refer them to the appropriate professional mental health resources, and who embrace a holistic approach to well-being by expanding and enriching the network of support on campus.

Once students have completed the six-week training program, they are considered members of the P.A.W.S. network for the remainder of their time at Michigan Tech. Completing this program will open up future opportunities for participating in mental health and well-being advocacy on campus, getting involved in future continuing education or peer programs, and being a leader in promoting mental health resources on campus. With only six weeks of training, students will learn valuable skills that are useful even after their years at Michigan Tech.

Each week brings up a new topic for students to learn and discuss with other peers in their group:

  • Week 1: What is Mental Health?: Acceptance and Avoidance
  • Week 2: Empathy
  • Week 3: Depression and Anxiety
  • Week 4: Use of Alcohol and Other Substances
  • Week 5: Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors
  • Week 6: Stages of Change, Getting More Help

Faculty, staff and students who are passionate about mental health awareness on campus are invited to nominate a student to participate in the P.A.W.S. spring 2024 cohort. Limited spots are available. Nominees not accepted into this cohort will be waitlisted for the next academic year. Nominated students must have at least one year left in their academic program and will receive an email requesting a completed application form and their schedule availability.

To learn more, visit our table in the Van Pelt and Opie Library next week from Monday to Friday (Oct. 23-27), check out our website or email us at

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