Online texting initiative provides peer support for people dealing with mental health

Apr 5 2021, 10:39 am

A new free mental health peer texting initiative is hoping to provide support for those struggling with anxiety and depression.

The Colour Project, was created by second-year UBC medical student Amanda Feng and her partner, Ian Wong, a 4th year dentistry student at UBC.

“We were inspired to create The Colour Project (TCP) during the height of our own mental health struggles when it was difficult to see the world beyond shades of grey. It was hard to wake up and realize that despite all of the sunshine or colours around, everything looked muted,” Feng told Daily Hive.

“We wanted to create a safe and non-judgmental space where individuals in Canada could easily access support if they would like to, via anonymous, one-to-one texting and where colour could be brought back into the lives of those who may need it.”

Launched in January, the initiative has seen over 10,000 messages exchanged between peer support volunteers and those reaching out for support across Canada. Successfully connecting more than 100 help-seekers with 26 volunteers together, the Colour Project is still expanding its helpline and hoping to provide a safe space for more people to come.

“We saw access to mental health resources as a struggle for many, and so are working to keep this service not only free but also easily accessible for anyone with a phone that can text.”

The Colour Project is only led by volunteers and Feng encourages anyone who wants to help to apply. You just have to sign up on their website.

“Anyone who has an interest in providing peer support to someone struggling with their mental health can be a volunteer. Personal experiences with mental health, or helping someone else who has been struggling with their mental health can be helpful but is not required.”
Training typically occurs over two evenings, where participants will discuss different topics from principles of active listening to boundary-setting, to signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation. Volunteers are given time to practice the concepts with each other and discuss the Colour Project’s general values, expectations, and self-care for volunteers.

“We believe it has been a difficult time for many individuals during the pandemic, and we hope that this service can continue to help those who may be struggling,” said Feng.

 

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