ST. GEORGE — The Trula Foundation, a nonprofit based in St. George, has an online service called TrulaCampus. This service offers free peer coaching and wellness support to college students across the state.
“There has been a growing demand for mental health services at colleges and universities,” said Trula Foundation Project Manager Leonardo Lupiano. “Frequently, this demand can’t be met, especially during midterms and finals. In order to address this issue, we created TrulaCampus, which connects college students with trained and qualified peer coaches at no cost.”
Coaches are students who are currently enrolled in a Utah college or University, Program Director Tasha McNamee said. Ideally, they have 30 credits, and a 3.5 GPA.
“But we offer some latitude for students who have real world experience,” McNamee said. “It’s important that they can connect with anyone. We highly value diversity of all kinds.”
In exchange for five to 10 hours a week, McNamee said coaches may earn $1,000 to $2,000 in scholarship money for each semester they serve with TrulaCampus.
Coaching can be done via phone, text or video. Coaches work with clients to determine what their goals are. McNamee said that coaches help clients discover tools to help clients with personal development, goal setting, confidence building, fostering positive self-image, connection, stress management, organization, communication, self-care and relationship skills.
“It’s really about preventative care,” McNamee said. “It’s about personal growth.”
To that end, coaches strive to help clients articulate their needs, as well as determine goals to meet those needs. Clients typically spend six sessions, which are 30 minutes each, with their coaches.
“They check in to see what’s working, and what’s not,” McNamee said. “Then they adjust, or modify. We want students to empower themselves, and thrive.”
What TrulaCampus offers is not crisis care, McNamee said. Students should seek out a doctor or mental health professional for that.
“We try to get ahead of the crisis,” she said. “Before a student loses a job, partner, or parent, we want to give them the tools they need to prevent the cascade of negative emotions that comes from those crises.”
Trula Foundation partnered with the Utah System of Higher Education, which agreed to fund the program for two years. That means this service, now in its thirteenth month, is completely free to students and schools. It’s presently available to over 200,000 students across the state, including Dixie State and Dixie Tech students, as well as Southern Utah University, among many others.
McNamee said that she and her colleagues are trying to ignite a coaching movement and culture.
“Life isn’t easy,” she said. “We hope that, through working with our coaches, students will embrace the unknown. Everyday we deal with the unknown, the unexpected. Nobody knows what’s coming, but, whatever it is, we want them to feel like they can meet it.”
Those who are interested in becoming coaches, or engaging with their services, may visit TrulaCampus at the Atwood Innovation Plaza, 453 South 600 East, Suite 147 in St George, or their webpage.
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