The Georgetown University Student Association Mental Health Committee announced the creation of the Project Lighthouse mental health initiative Wednesday, which will implement a peer-to-peer online chat service to enable Georgetown students to anonymously communicate on issues such as stress culture, sleep problems and thoughts of self-harm.
The initiative plans to welcome its first class of peer supporters through an eight-week training period from February to March, garnering support and resources from professionals in Georgetown’s Counseling and Psychiatric Services and Health Education Services.
After training peer supporters, Project Lighthouse will conduct a beta test in early April to evaluate student interest and begin plans to transition into full-service by final exams in May. The initiative will tentatively be in operation every day of the week on evenings and nights, until 2 a.m.
While the Project Lighthouse initiative will exist separately from the GUSA Executive, President Joe Luther (COL ’16) said he plans to support the initiative and is excited about the expansion of mental health resources on campus.
“Mental health has been a serious issue for us since Connor and I first began our GUSA campaign,” Luther wrote in a press release. “We are thrilled that Hoyas are actively working to improve and expand the mental health resources available to fellow Hoyas.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson also expressed his support for Project Lighthouse and acknowledged the importance of student initiative in increasing mental health resources.
“I really appreciate the students’ initiative and care in pursing this initiative,” Olson wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I know they understand the importance of thoughtful training and strong preparation to assure that this is a valuable resource for our students. I am enthused to see this moving forward.”
According to Director of Health Education Services Carol Day, Project Lighthouse comes as a result of thoughtful collaboration by mental health professionals and students.
“The students that have been working on the Project Lighthouse initiative have collaborated with many key individuals in the university as part of their planning process,” Day wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We expect the service that trained students will eventually be providing will be a valuable resource for students to get support and link to important resources.”
Director of CAPS Phil Meilman expressed CAPS’s continuing support for Project Lighthouse.
“We look forward to supporting this new and creative venture at Georgetown and hope it will be of great benefit to students,” Meilman said.
GUSA Vice President Connor Rohan (COL ’16) said Project Lighthouse increases awareness of mental health issues and will reach more Hoyas in a way that reduces negative stigmas.
“Project Lighthouse will allow more students to receive assistance, improve knowledge about professional resources on campus, and reduce the stigma associated with seeking out mental health resources,” Rohan wrote in a press release. “We will continue to fight for improved resources at Georgetown and are thrilled to help bring this program to Georgetown.”
Project Lighthouse is currently seeking applications for its first class of peer supporters, and will accept applications from freshman, sophomore and junior students until January 26th.