The School of Journalism and New Media has partnered with the HearMe Inc. app to assist students struggling with mental illness this spring. Reports show that 1 in 3 college students suffer from mental illness during their time in school.
The HearMe app is a place where students can log in and chat with others trained in listening. Listeners are not instructed to give advice to students, but rather to act as an open ear to someone that needs it.
Dr. Graham Bodie, an integrated marketing and communications professor, is leading the project and thinks it will give a mental health boost to students that are having trouble.
“HearMe offers a space for people to feel heard and make connections with other individuals,” Bodie said.
The University of Mississippi is one of two schools conducting research in partnership with the HearMe app. The University of Mississippi is using students as “listeners”, while The University of Minnesota is also participating using professionals rather than students.
Bodie believes that having students listen to the problems of their peers will have a greater impact than using professionals.
“Students are able to relate more in situations to their fellow students,” said Bodie.
Anyone that wants to help students can become a listener. They are required to go through a short one hour training course. Listeners can choose which topics they wish to listen to.
Shannon McClure, a graduate IMC student, is currently a listener on HearMe. She loves the aspect of being able to just hear other students out on their problems.
McClure says, “It is completely anonymous, where we just get to know their name and make them feel a little bit more comfortable.”
The HearMe app can be downloaded on any Apple or Android devices for free.