"Middle Earth" is a growing hotline at the University of Albany for students seeking mental health support, and it's run entirely by other students. 

Anytime you call in, you're answered by a fellow student, like LeAsia Royall, on the other side of the line.

“This program is unique in its own way and being part of Middle Earth is life changing. I’m super grateful to be a part of this program and it helps people every single day,” Royall said. “Having someone who is trained and can also relate to issues that are going on, on our campus, is super important."

The hotline is more important than ever right now. A recent study found that 95% of college counselor report a growing mental health concern on their campuses.

In fact, 71% of students say they would use a tele-mental health service if their university offered one.

“Students go through a lot. We are going through our personal issues, our social issues, dealing with our mental and physical health,” Royall said. “It’s a lot to deal with all these problems. And having a service that helps you regulate these problems or you can just talk to somebody about it. Something I like to live by is, it’s OK to not be OK. And I think the universities across the nation should have a program like this to service their students.”

The program not only serves the University at Albany, but all SUNY schools. Whether you’re facing a mental health crisis or just need someone to talk you through a tough time, LeAsia says Middle Earth is here for you.

“You don’t have to know everything when you call. We are just here to talk to you. You can treat us as a friend or as a peer that you don’t know. Or just need to get things off your chest. So just pick up the phone. The first step in calling us,” Royall said.

You can connect with a peer on the Middle Earth hotline by calling 518-442-5777.