Student life: Help a friend

May 3, 2013

Every student faces challenges during college, but not everyone knows where they can get help. For CU-Boulder senior Emmie Matsuno, this was a challenge to construct a resource that fit the needs of students searching for some advice.

The “How to Help a Friend” page on the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) website is the result of Matsuno’s mission to help. The site boasts a number of topics, including, alcohol and other drugs, Suicide, Body Image, Relationships, and Stress.

“I think that what maybe really sparked the idea was that I had friends I was worried about,” explained Matsuno. “I didn’t know how to help them exactly so I thought that having a resource where people could go that were worried about their friends would be really awesome.”

From this mentality the website’s three main goals were born: to provide general information for relevant areas of interest, to offer a device for concerned friends to seek advice and tips, and to list recourses for helpful groups and contacts.

Matsuno explains that the most important aspect of the project is accessibility for students. “People are more likely to go in and get the support that they need if they hear it from a friend [or peer],” she said. “I feel like it is a way to reach to campus from within.”

In January 2012 Matsuno started as a volunteer for CAPS, before her work on the “How to Help a Friend” project began. She has since interned with the program for three semesters as a peer educator, where she has participated in the promotion of CAPS programs across campus as well as the facilitation of small group workshops and peer education.

The Wyoming native will graduate May 10 with a duel degree in psychology and music after four years at CU.

After graduation Matsuno plans to attend University of California, Santa Barbara, where she has been accepted to to their PhD program in Psychology. She hopes to pursue a career in teaching thereafter, and is extremely interested in engaging in a research-oriented position at a university someday.

To check out the other resources CAPS offers visit the website.

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