Who is behind Facebook’s ‘UT Confessions’ and why do students use it?

Bismarck D. Andino

UT Confessions, a Facebook page with more than 1,200 followers, provides students with a platform for posting anonymous “confessions.” 

Electrical engineering senior Jordan Newman founded the page last year. The UT online community submits their confessions via a Google Forms link.

“I’ve always thought (the confessions) were fun, whether or not it’s an arbitrary confession or if you’re trying to say something to someone and you don’t want them to know who you are,” Newman said. 

But students sometimes “confess” to having suicidal thoughts or struggles with depression.

Computer science sophomore Eddith Krystal Figueroa, a follower of the page, said UT Confessions serves as a safe space to vent one’s feelings. However, Figueroa said it also leaves students feeling helpless when they see a post about someone experiencing a crisis.

“Mental health, in general, is just something people still struggle to talk about,” Figueroa said. “I think it’s easier for people to talk about it when there’s no face attached to it.”

Newman said confessions about mental health were a challenge for the page because he did not know how to respond to them. 

The confessions concerned an administrator from UT’s Counseling and Mental Health Center, who advised Newman against posting confessions regarding mental health issues because doing so “could cause more harm than good,” Newman said.

“But then (the administrator) actually rethought and said, ‘Maybe these are people who don’t have anyone else to tell, and this might be their only shot of getting help,’” Newman said.

Marla Craig, associate director for clinical services at CMHC, said she was unaware of the page but is glad students are reaching out to get information and resources.

“Our (message) is always to our students, ‘Please call us or walk on over so that we can immediately figure out what’s going to be the next step,’” Craig said. “If they are needing to see a counselor immediately, the same day, we have counselors available so that we can further explore and understand what the student might be going through.” 

Newman has since passed on administrator roles for the page to someone else, whose identity Newman did not reveal.

“That’s a big part of the mystique of the page,” Newman said. “The admin remains anonymous until they’re ready to give the page to someone new. I would imagine they will do exactly what I did, and just find someone they can trust to keep the secret and move on.”

 

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