From the moment she decided to go to a college 1,500 miles away from home, Rebecca Redmond, CSOM '22, knew that some aspects of the transition would be difficult. There weren’t any major setbacks, but there were some problems that Redmond, a freshman originally from Miami, would’ve liked someone to talk to about.
“Homesickness towards the end for sure, definitely some roommate drama, and just a big amount of stress revolving around finding friends and a group,” Redmond said of the problems she experienced.
Stories like this are exactly why UGBC President Reed Piercey spearheaded the adoption of a program called Lean On Me on Boston College’s campus. Lean On Me, or LOM, is an instantly accessible, non-crisis mental health system for students who feel stressed, overwhelmed, alone, or otherwise want someone to talk to.
“Many students can feel discouraged from going to UCS due to long wait times, the stigma associated with seeing a counselor, or the perception that their problems are not worthy of professional help,” Piercey said. “That’s where LOM BC comes in."
Students text whatever message they want to the LOM BC hotline, and a supporter will respond within a few minutes. Students can carry on conversations with supporters, and are also able to text “/flag” at any time to be matched with someone new. LOM is available to any student at BC, regardless of what issue they're facing, but the hotline is non-crisis.
"This means that if the user is in an emergency, in need of immediate professional support, or likely to harm themselves or others, we have the ability to transfer them to a more highly trained service that can fully support them," said Piercey. "Part of our agreement with BC is that we have to recognize our limitations, and at the end of the day we're simply concerned students spending time supporting their peers."
LOM’s launch at BC is the culmination of over two years of work by Piercey, the original founders of LOM at MIT, Samaritans Helpline in downtown Boston, and UGBC. According to Piercey, students on campus have been very receptive since Lean On Me’s launch three weeks ago. Of the 20 conversations so far, the average user-rating is a 4.71 out of five.
“I think Lean On Me is a great idea,” Redmond said. “I can definitely see myself using it in the future."
Lean On Me is available 24/7 via text at 617-553-6655.