The Counselling Centre

Peer Support

Peer Support will retuen Fall 2019

“Peer support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful. Peer support is not based on psychiatric models and diagnostic criteria. It is about understanding another’s situation empathically through the shared experience of emotional and psychological pain.”

(Mead, Hilton & Curtis, 2001, p. 135)

On this page:
What is Peer Support at SMU?
When are Peer Supporters working?
Who are they?
How can I see a Peer Supporter?


What is Peer Support at SMU?

Peer Supporters are students who have lived experience dealing with mental health concerns. These students are trained with the Stay Connected Mental Health Project and The Counselling Centre to support their peers by offering active listening, goal-setting, and resource referral. As students, Supporters understand how stressful university life can be. Peer Supporters are here to help with a lot of mental health concerns including managing stress, coping strategies, relationship problems, and referrals to other important resources. Peer Support focuses on health, self-care and recovery rather than on illness.

Peer Support focuses on health and recovery rather than on illness.

Peer Suppport will return Fall 2019.
When are Peer Supporters working?
All students are welcome to visit a Peer Supporter during their drop in hours:

Katherine Heim

picture of peer supporter

Katherine is in her fourth year here at Saint Mary's. Katherine is taking a double major in Criminology and Psychology. Katherine is also the Vice President and Co-founder of the SMU Music society. In Katherine's free time, she is a singer songwriter, and loves anything that has to do with music. 

Reha Purdasy

Picture of Reha

Reha is from Mauritius, a beautiful tropical island off the southeast coast of Africa. Reha is in her 4th year studying Biology at Saint Mary's. Reha really discovered her love for human biology in high school. It pushed her into self-learning since Reha was eager to learn more than what was being taught at school. Reha plans to go into the medical sciences to further explore her passion. Reha is currently working for the SMU Residence Department as a Team Lead RSO and Training Module Developer. Reha enjoys going on road trips and nature adventures with her friends and family. Reha deeply appreciates solo adventures and self-care. Reha feels they are the best way for her to connect with herself and care for her mental health. Reha believes In life, we are all leading different yet similar journeys. Peer supporting, for her, is all about telling each other ‘You got this and we believe in you’. 

Drew McCarthy

Picture of Drew

Drew is in his 4th year at Saint Mary's majoring in Marketing. Drew is the Public Relations Director at the Sobey School of Business Commerce Society, and he is excited to recruit students to join the Commerce Society and other societies on campus. Drew hopes everyone gets involved with societies and groups that can enhance their skills, meet new people, give back to the community, and have an great overall experience at Saint Mary's. Drew can be found hanging out in the library, the gym, or meeting people at a networking event. Drew believes looking to others for help is the best way to overcome adversity and runs by the motto "everything is going to be alright". 

How can I see a Peer Supporter?

Peer Support is a free, confidential, drop-in service located on the first floor of the Student Centre (Room 106) in the SMUSA Wellness Centre.

To contact a Peer Supporter, please email

To stay connected with us, please visit our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram.

Peer Support is not an emergency service. For Saint Mary’s University students requiring immediate assistance, please contact Good2Talk 1-833-292-3698, or Morneau Shepell at 1-855-649-8641. For non-immediate need contact Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team at 902-429-8167.