By Emma Howell
The Bairnwick Women’s Center recently announced the creation of a peer-support hotline, open to all Sewanee students. The Women’s Center has always offered resources similar to those provided by the hotline. However, in the past, accessing peer counseling was less convenient.
“Up until recently, the people that are on the call had to post their individual cell phone number on the call board,” Wick resident Bre Corn (C’20) said. “So if someone wanted to get in touch with a resident… they would have to physically stop at the space.”
Residents of the Women’s Center hope that having one static number will make peer support more accessible. The hotline aims to give students 24/7 access to a member of the peer support team.
“There [are] different resident[s] of the Women’s Center or trained residents of the Healthy Hut that are a part of the peer support team that are on call every day of the month,” Corn said. “There’s always someone that’s there to be on call for students.”
The Healthy Hut became involved with the project as part of their initiative to focus on all areas of health, including mental health.
The team trained by reviewing the Sex Discrimination policy with Dr. Sylvia Gray, the University’s Title IX Coordinator. In addition, they toured the Wellness Center to learn the resources that are available to students. All members can give students information on what options are available in the aftermath of a sexual assault, which can include filing a sexual misconduct report, accessing both physical and psychological health resources at the Wellness Center, or staying at the safe space in the Women’s Center overnight.
“The person on call can see the best way to help you and be that first line of trauma relief for students,” Corn said.
Members of the peer support team are not mandated reporters, and the hotline is confidential.
“If someone tells us about an incident that happened on campus, we are not mandated to report it to Title IX or anyone else,” Corn said. “We are a separate peer support house.”
If you or someone you know needs to utilize the peer support hotline, call 615-439-8294.