High School Students Train in Peer Counseling at UMaine 

Sometimes it’s easier for students to talk to other kids about their problems. That’s why Piscataquis Community Secondary School and The Blue Hill Harbor School are starting peer counseling programs.”I know I feel safer talking to someone my own age instead of a teacher,” said Chelsea Baillargeon, a junior at Piscataquis Community Secondary School.But before students can help one another, they’re getting help from University of Maine professors and graduate students. They’re using UMaine’s counseling education facilities to train the students as part of a pilot program for high schools all over the state.”We want them to learn what counseling is, what kind of relationship they are getting into, and some basic counseling skills,” said Dennis Lin, one of the counseling education professors training the students.What they learn on the UMaine campus, they’ll take back to their schools, so they might be able to help their peers with issues like bullying and depression.”Our goal is that some youngsters in school that might be on the verge of crisis can avoid that crisis and someone can help them through it,” said Paul Sterns, Superintendent of Schools for MSAD #4.And maybe inspire other schools to start similar programs.”I think it would be awesome if every school had students to be there for each other,” said Baillargeon.