RAP-Line is an outlet for students in need
To the editor:
After recent student suicides at Penn’s peer universities, it’s apparent that mental health support services are essential to the higher-education community. A column in The Daily Pennsylvanian by Katherine Rea highlighted the need for peer-support groups at Penn (“Help Peers Proactively” 4/8/10). The proposed Counseling and Psychological Services peer-counseling program she described in her column would be a welcome campus asset.
Also, it’s important to point out to DP readers that a peer-support helpline for Penn students already exists: The Reach-A-Peer Helpline (RAP-Line).
From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m nightly, students can call RAP-Line at 215-573-2727. Students can also write to the line at upenn.edu/rap-online.
Answering the phone and responding to letters are RAP-Line staffers — Penn students trained to deal with mental health topics including: academic stress, depression, eating issues, sexuality and suicide. Staffers also provide students with appropriate campus resources for their situation. In calls and letters, both parties remain anonymous and the exchange is confidential.
Since RAP-Line was established 14 years ago, students have used the service to vent, reveal secrets or just to talk. For students experiencing mental distress, RAP-Line can provide the support alluded to in Rea’s column.
The author is a College junior and the RAP-Line president.
Continue dialogue about sexual violence
To the editor:
You may have seen us holding signs: “Got Consent?” and “Not Just a Women’s Issue.” You may have heard us chanting in unison. Perhaps you sat at the speak-out vigil, listening to survivors’ stories of sexual and relationship violence. Or maybe you had absolutely no idea that Thursday was Take Back the Night on Penn’s campus. But for those who did attend, the impact was profound.
We write today to say thank you to all those in attendance and to those who support our mission, but could not be present.
While Take Back the Night lives freshly in our minds and hearts, it’s important to express both our gratitude and hopes for the future. As Spring Fling arrives, we hope to see students advocating on behalf of others’ safety during this vulnerable time. The continuation of this dialogue is imperative in order to keep the community alive and known. Your stories not only deserve to be heard, but they also hold great power to substantially reduce the violence that still exists on our campus and in our world.
We are honored to be a part of this movement, and grateful to claim membership within such a supportive community.
Liat-Fleming Shemer and Sonja Tonnesen
The authors are a College junior and senior, respectively, and leaders of the Take Back the Night Committee.
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