Supporting Peers In Laidback Listening President Suet Lee and Vice President of Marketing Sarah Pepenella presented at the Student Services Finance Committee’s first General Student Services Fund eligibility hearing Monday night.

SPILL is a free online 24-hour confidential peer-to-peer support group that was established in 2009 by UW-Madison alumni Heidi Allstop. SPILL connects the ‘spiller,’ the one seeking support, to a supporter best matched and most comfortable with responding to the spiller’s thoughts — also referred to as the ‘spill’ — and provides an answer within 24 hours. 

“Badger SPILL can be accessed any time of the day and in any place,” Lee said.

The responses sent by the supporters are first screened for personal identifiers before they are sent back to the spiller to ensure confidentiality.

SPILL’s confidentiality, however, has its limits. Lee said that if there is a crisis spill — a spill that suggests that an individual is a danger to themselves — SPILL will reach out to University Health Services or the UW police.

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Pepenella said the impact of supporting peers is not the only benefit of becoming involved with SPILL. Supporters also gain leadership skills and public speaking skills throughout their training, Pepenella said.

At the end of their training, supporters fill out a questionnaire determining what struggles they may have experienced and what spills they are comfortable responding to. This is used by SPILL to match spillers with the support that could best help them.

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SPILL has engaged students online and on-campus. Last week they collaborated with UHS to post signs on Bascom Hill commemorating International Suicide Prevention Day as well as their Self-Care Sundays.

Lee said they also hope to do more tabling, in addition to their current efforts.

“You’ll be able to see us at Union South and the Farmer’s Market.” Lee said, “I do hope to do more library tabling throughout [the year].”

The next SPILL event is the University Recreation & Wellbeing Rec Light of the Moon 5k on Thursday, Sept. 26.

The deadline for all student org GSSF budget proposals is Friday, Sept. 20.