Longhorn SHARE Project

What is Peer Support?

Peer support occurs whenever people with similar life experiences give and receive support. College students often turn to peers (trusted friends, partners, siblings) first when they’re navigating a difficult situation or just need to vent, and having those close connections is crucial for mental health.

However, genuine social connections and belonging can be a challenge for many people during college, particularly in recent years and as demand for mental health support continues to rise. The Longhorn SHARE Project was created to address this need by providing opportunities for students to responsibly engage in non-clinical, reciprocal, mental health-focused peer support.

How is This Different from CMHC Counseling or Peer Education?

SHARE Support Specialists play a unique role in mental health support on campus, but peer support is not a replacement for therapy!

What Do We Do?

SHARE Support Specialists are fellow UT Austin students who have “been there” and are motivated by the desire to connect, reduce stigma, and support peers navigating similar challenges. Struggling with loneliness or impostor feelings? Anxious about future decisions? Unsure how to communicate your needs or boundaries? The Longhorn SHARE Project is here to listen.

Who Can Benefit From Peer Support?

Most students can benefit from talking with other students about what they’re going through. Peer support is a great option for students who want to learn how to connect or communicate better and to talk through their thoughts and feelings. For students experiencing a crisis or a wanting clinical mental health support, the Counseling and Mental Health Center is a better fit.

What Training Do SHARE Support Specialists Have?

SHARE Support Specialists are UT Austin undergraduate and graduate students who have completed the Mental Health First Aid certification and a full semester of training in active listening, motivational interviewing, group facilitation and more. They are also well-versed in campus resources and can help their peers locate additional support options on campus if needed.

Is Peer Support Confidential?

Conversations with SHARE Support Specialists are private, as are all SHARE communities facilitated. Ensuring privacy is essential in establishing trust and reducing overall harm, and the Longhorn SHARE Project is committed to this goal. There are only a few exceptions:

  • For everyone’s safety, SHARE Support Specialists must take action if they believe a peer is at risk of imminent, serious harm to themselves or others. If they are unsure, specialists may consult with their program coordinator or a clinician for guidance. Longhorn SHARE Project staff and students are committed to involving peers in decision-making whenever possible.
  • Information related to incidents of interpersonal violence or sexual assault must be reported to the UT Title IX Office. Reports do not require victims to proceed with a formal report or investigation, but usually result in a check-in from the Title IX office to provide support and information. Students seeking support for survivors of interpersonal violence are encouraged to connect with Title IX or Voices Against Violence.

SHARE Stands For:


Everyone deserves to feel seen, heard and understood by people who “get it”, who assume the best of them even when they struggle, and who are willing to trust and grow alongside them as partners and friends.


Opening up to others and receiving confirmation that you are not alone is both healing and affirming. Healing can be messy and nonlinear, and sharing our imperfections with peers can reduce stigma and encourage self-compassion..


Good communication requires being present, practicing curiosity and empathetic listening, and asking questions to clear up confusion and help others understand themselves more fully. We aim to model and teach these habits across campus.


Peer support is built on the belief that we can all benefit from the wisdom of our shared experiences, resources, coping strategies, and emotional support as a community of equals.


We aim to demystify and normalize conversations about mental health, decrease stigma, and share balanced, relevant information so our peers are empowered to make informed decisions. We do not make assumptions or decisions about others’ needs without their consent.