Lean On Me strengthens communities by providing peer-to-peer text lines that allow for easy access to confidential non-crisis support. We envision a world where anyone can seek and receive emotional support.
Lean On Me at the University of Chicago is a chapter of Lean On Me, which was founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2015. To learn more about their impact or inquire about establishing a new chapter, visit their website here.
How our hotline works
Lean On Me allows students to talk to trained peer Supporters in a convenient and anonymous setting. To learn more about our training process, please click here.
1. Text our hotline
Text UChicago’s hotline number whatever you’d like to talk about! This can range from brief messages such as “All of my friends are busy and I want someone to talk to” to a longer, more serious message. Our Supporters are here to listen and be there for you - the topic is your choice!
3. Receive a reply
The expected wait time is just under 5 minutes. While the service is available at any time, please remember that Supporters are your peers, who lead their own busy lives and occasionally remember to sleep. So the wait time for a conversation sent in at 4:30 AM may be longer, and we thank you for understanding that!
5. End the conversation
Conversations last for as long as you would like them to, and you can end a conversation with a Supporter at any time by texting “/bye” to the hotline. If you text again you will be matched with a new Supporter and they will not see what you wrote before.
2. Match with a Supporter
Once a text is received, all active Supporters will be informed that a request has come in, and within a few minutes you will be matched with one!
4. Have a conversation
You can now have a conversation with the Supporter! Feel free to text for as long as you like. If you ever feel uncomfortable with a Supporter text “/flag”, and we’ll match you with another! For a full list of commands, text “/help” to the hotline. Supporters never see your slash commands.
6. Provide feedback
Once a conversation ends, you will be asked to provide feedback, helping make the service better for future users. By no means is this mandatory, but we would really appreciate it. Your input will have a very real effect on the future of Lean On Me, and on changes we make to the service!
Meet our team
Jess if a fourth year majoring in Cognitive Science, minoring in Chemistry on the Pre-med track. In her free time, she loves trying new coffee shops and exploring new cities with friends!
Jordan is a 4th year majoring in Psychology. She likes to play board games in her free time!
Aoife is a third year studying Economics and potentially Data Science or Mathematics. Outside of LeanOnMe, she is likely proofreading or spreadsheet-organizing as an Under-Secretary-General for ChoMUN (a ModelUN RSO on campus), exploring the city in search of the best coffee while claiming that a caffeine addiction counts as a hobby, or annoying her friends with the number of puns she can come up with for any topic
Rhea is a Computer Science and Cognitive Science major and she loves going on long walks, hanging out with her friends, and making music with them!
Bio to be added soon!
Alex is a second year majoring in biological sciences. She likes drawing and reading mystery thriller novels in her free time.
Social Media Coordinator
Bio to be added soon!
Niya is a third year studying Italian and minoring in Biology on the pre-med / MD-PhD track! In her free time she loves to spend time with friends and family, learn new languages and dialects, spend time with my dog Oso, and even try my hand at creating chat bots!
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Join us at our winter training!
Lean on Me will be hosting our quarterly training session to become a supporter! If interested, please send us an email for the application (see "how to apply" or the Join section on this website) or message any of our board members!
Saturday, January 21st 9:00am-11:00am
Reg Room 204
Who are the Peer Supporters?Supporters are volunteers who share your experiences and are excited to converse with you! They are your peers, as determined by the context of the hotline. (For example, the UChicago hotline's supporters are all UChicago students.) While they are not formally licensed or certified, they do go through our Supporter training.
How can I be a part of Lean On Me in my community?We're always looking for more people to join the team! If you're interested in applying to be a peer Supporter, please visit your chapter's Join page for more information. If you'd like to be a part of the Lean On Me organizational team or software development squad, please email us at email@example.com!
Can I start a Lean On Me hotline?If you're part of a group that's interested in having a Lean On Me hotline, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will get back to you as soon as possible. Our service is still in the development phase, but we are looking to expand to other universities as well as other organizations in the future, and would love to start a conversation with you now!
How anonymous is it, really?Our goal is to create a low-barrier, stigma-free, peer support network. That means that we take steps to ensure that when you text in, neither you nor the peer you match with see each other's phone number. While we know how many repeat users we've had, we won't know who those users are, where they live etc. (unless you choose to disclose that information, of course). That also means that we're peers, not professionals, and maintain some information - including your phone number and conversation history - so that we can transfer you to a mental health professional if the Supporter you're speaking to feels out of their depth. Because we care about your health and safety, we might also give your contact information to the authorities in certain cases.
Is this also a suicide hotline? Can I text in a crisis situation?We are not a suicide hotline, nor are we trained to deal with crisis-level situations. We're just kind peers willing to listen and talk, but if you need urgent help or find yourself in a crisis, please call 911, or text "HOME" to the National Crisis Textline at 741-741.
How can I provide feedback?Feedback is always welcome! If you have a suggestion, please drop us a line at email@example.com! We are constantly thinking about how to improve the Lean On Me network and technology, so we would love to hear from you.