SUPERs program helps students foster self love

As Valentine’s Day approached, Suffolk SUPERs used their monthly programming to send students messages about self-love in a time of self-isolation.

The Suffolk University Peer Health Educators (SUPERs) are a group of students who are nationally certified, trained and supervised by the Center for Health and Wellness. Each SUPER undergoes an eight-hour certification process.

The purpose of the peer-based program is to ensure that every student not only has access to mental health care, but that they have a variety of people they can speak to.

Naia Fils-Aime, one of the SUPERs, said the team understands how difficult it can be to come forward about personal issues.

“We know our classmates might not be too comfortable going to an adult,” said Fils-Aime.

Yasmine Tebib, another SUPER explained how important it is to have peers available for help.

“We act as a bridge between CHW and the student body, to be there for the students and try to be peers that empower and try to help our fellow classmates,” said Tebib.

The training process is intense and hands-on, as the SUPERs learn to deal with preventative situations and how to make informative programs. They interact with different departments and resources, such as the Title IX Office on campus, and students’ needs.

“The biggest thing is to be able to do the work off the clock in a way when the professors and administrators aren’t available,” Tebib said. “We start noticing trends in personal and student lives and that leads to events that talk about this or that, identifying norms both positive and destructive, and awareness work.”

Once a month, the SUPERs host an open discussion about topics they’ve noticed students struggling with based on trends they notice in confidential sessions.

On Feb. 10, the SUPERs hosted a Let’s Taco Bout Love event. The event ran one hour and was about self-care during a pandemic and around Valentine’s day.

Fils-Aime and Tebib ran the event, with licensed staff psychologist Teresa Belvins overseeing the conversation. The question posed to students was “What does love mean to you?”

“Love is unconditional support and having someone love you and you love them,” said student one student

One of the main points of the discussion centered around radical self-care. The SUPERS explained that taking mental breaks, like limiting social media time or practicing emotional self-care, such as connecting with your inner world, are ways to find a path towards finding love for yourself.

“If we don’t start practicing collective self-care now, we will never reach a time of freedom,” said activist Angela Davis in a video on the practice, which was shown during the event.

“You have to find a reason to get up every morning because you love yourself and you want to take care of yourself,” said Fils-Aime.

To end the session, the SUPERs discussed the five types of love language: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch, gifts and how they correlate to self-love as well as love for others. Each love language has its own benefits and shows the type of love one is willing to receive.

“Culturally, love languages are so important, you can overthink and over idolize one way of love,” said Tebib.

The events can be found on the SUPERS Instagram pages, and those who attend have a chance of winning gift cards to local restaurants.

The SUPER program is currently accepting applications for new SUPERs until March.

The SUPERs can be found on Instagram @su_supers

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