Survey data from the Spring 2019 National College Health Assessment by the American College Health Association indicated that in the previous year, three out of five students experienced overwhelming anxiety, and two out of five students were too depressed to function. Many struggled with these and other mental health concerns, including substance abuse. Student mental health has been a growing concern for higher-ed administrators in recent years… then the COVID pandemic took hold, bringing with it disruptions to all aspects of campus life, including decreased or no access for students to medical and mental health services. According to an April 2020 survey by Active Minds, a national mental health advocacy group, 80 percent of college students say the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health.
As colleges and universities work to find a balance between pandemic-related safety and wellness protocols and student welfare, including student mental health, one option available is secure video- and message-based counseling, also known as teletherapy. One school that is finding success with this outlet for its students is Carthage College in Kenosha, WI.
Carthage College recently announced an initiative to give students easier access to mental health services through a new program that provides virtual teletherapy for students through an online platform called Uwill, giving all Carthage students access to on-demand counseling with licensed professionals through chat, video, phone, or text message.
“We were excited to launch this teletherapy initiative,” said Carthage President John Swallow. “We got going with it late in 2020 with the support of some donors and trustees who were interested in our addressing more mental health needs on campus. We received some donations to get started and currently have an 18-month pilot underway. We are excited that more students are being able to access services.”