Supporting Peers In Laidback Listening, a student organization focused on helping students maintain mental health, aims to use its recently raised budget to aid the group as it accommodates a recent spike in usage, according to its president Adela Tomsejova.
The organization, also known as BadgerSpill, is a web-based group that allows students to anonymously voice problems they are facing and promptly receive feedback from their peers. This helps students who wouldn’t otherwise seek counseling due to the stigma that often goes along with seeking such help, according to Tomsejova.
“Counseling is unfortunately very stigmatized,” Tomsejova said. “So this is just an easy way for students to vent about their problems and to receive quick feedback.”
When students look to vent their problems, they go on the BadgerSpill website and write a short message, called a spill, about whatever is troubling them. This message is then processed by the organization’s vice president of confidentiality, who screens each spill.
The vice president of confidentiality checks each spill to make sure the content does not sacrifice the individual's anonymity or indicate any immediate signs of danger such as an indication the individual means to harm themselves. In this case, UHS or 911 is called depending on the situation.
After screening, spills are sent to a number of trained supporters who have reported dealing with similar issues in the past. These supporters do not receive the individual’s email address, but send their personal responses to the vice president of confidentiality, who screens them and sends them on to the spill’s writer.
Since last year, BadgerSpill has seen a large increase in the number of spills received, with 169 this year, according to Tomsejova.
To help accommodate this increase, the Associated Students of Madison Student Services Finance Committee approved increases to the group’s proposed 2016-'17 budget, including the addition of the vice president of confidentiality position during the school year.
After making a slight change to the group’s advertising budget, SSFC approved the final total of $46,843.10, an increase of slightly over $2,400 from BadgerSpill’s requested budget.