Lean On Me, a new texting service for peer chats, started by MIT students, joins a growing number of new low-barrier counseling formats offered on campus this year. MIT has offered Peer2Peer, and Let’s Chat as new options for support within the campus landscape. While Let’s Chat offers 20 minute face-to-face conversations with professional counselors, and peer2peer.mit.edu offers anonymous online chats with trained and screened “active listeners,” Lean on Me, is the first to offer phone-line texting as a means of support. The service was started and launched in February, by sophmore, Andy Trattner and other MIT-student teamates from a recent MIT hackathon. Trattner has emphasized that the service fills an important gap: "We are very focused on bridging the gap between pure friend-friend interactions and friend-friend support. Bottom line, we want people to just text us "hi" and have a genuine conversation. It is amazing how a few positive words can change a normal day into a great day to be alive, and we want to bring that to people on the go.”
Lean On Me is a student-run service, staffed entirely by student volunteers. The website (http://lean0n.me) has freely available training materials and resource listings (http://lean0n.me/workshop/) including the 2.5 minute video (The Hurricane Metaphor) that teaches viewers how to be better supporters to our friends and family and others in our lives. The service is accessible by texting to 646-798-4121 to reach an anonymous peer-support MIT student. Read more about the Lean On Me team and service in a March 2 NBC News story here.