- Building off successful student outcomes from supporting bipolar II disorder from the past year, the digital mental health clinic continues to expand its telepsychiatry offering for colleges and universities.
- Mantra Health helps combat the lack of psychiatric providers serving college campuses
- With first symptoms often appearing at 21-25 years old there’s a unique opportunity for collegiate health centers to diagnose and treat bipolar I disorder to set students up for success in school and throughout their lives.
New York, NY – July 14, 2021 — Mantra Health, a digital mental health clinic that partners with higher education institutions, today announced it will expand its capabilities to support bipolar I disorder starting in the Fall semester. Mantra Health already supports bipolar II disorder through its collaborative telepsychiatry program and has seen successful outcomes in the 2020-2021 school year. Building on that success and recognizing there’s a lack of care for students with Serious Mental Illnesses (SMIs) on college campuses, Mantra Health has added bipolar I disorder treatment to its program. Drawing on over 15 years of experience in collegiate mental health treating high-risk students at Michigan State and Colorado State University, Mantra Health’s Medical Director, Dr. Nora Feldpausch, led the clinical protocol development for bipolar I disorder with the input from Mantra Health’s partner universities.
Bipolar disorder affects about 2.8% of the population in the US overall, but roughly 3.2% of college students. Although bipolar disorder affects a relatively small percentage of students, the impact of the illness on individuals can be devastating if untreated, ranging from poor academic and personal functioning to lost relationships, to death by suicide or other means. Simultaneously, in the last decade, the psychiatric treatment of college students has become increasingly complex with a doubling in the use of psychiatric medication (as high as 1 in 4 college students). And the proportion of students seen by primary care providers but not psychiatric providers is increasing, with 58.8% of students obtaining their psychiatric medication prescriptions from primary care providers versus 36.1% from psychiatric providers.
“With mental health needs on campus continuing to outpace available resources, adding an evidence-based telehealth partner like Mantra Health that offers collaborative and safety-focused care for students with more complicated mental health disorders like bipolar I disorder is a big win for students, as well as university staff and administrators alike,” said Dr. Feldspausch.
Bipolar disorder, like most mental illnesses, is often more severe if left untreated, so recognizing and starting care is important not only for the current episode but for preventing or decreasing the severity of future episodes, as well. Given that bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, with the first symptoms often appearing in early to middle adolescence (21-25 years old) there is a unique opportunity for collegiate health centers to diagnose and treat the illness. Additionally, if diagnosed early on students can learn how to navigate the mental healthcare system and manage their illness effectively so that they can go on to complete their schooling and function well throughout their lives, creating tremendous long-term value for the student and their family.
“Our partner schools have seen 78% and 84% of students under psychiatric care experiencing an improvement in their depression and anxiety symptoms, respectively,” said Ed Gaussen, Mantra Health’s co-founder & CEO. “Adding bipolar I disorder care to Mantra Health’s treatment capabilities will make a significant difference in the lives of the students we serve and our higher education partners. Successfully treating bipolar disorders emerging in university-age patients often materially improves their chance of graduation, and ultimately, their long term quality of life.”
Adding treatment of bipolar I disorder doesn’t change the extensive protocols around safety and risk that Mantra Health already has in place for students. These include ongoing screening for symptoms between appointments with the ability to message telehealth providers, and sharing that information with university health, with any questions or concerns that arise.
What is different with bipolar I disorder, specifically, is that students may develop psychosis with limited insight and that psychosis could include paranoia that may decrease the student’s ability or willingness to engage in ongoing care. Mantra Health’s proactive approach anticipates the appropriate response at each university they are working with, making sure that in-person providers and support staff are identified ahead of treating any students with bipolar I disorder, in case of emergent need to transfer to in-person care quickly. Mantra Health’s collaborative model makes referrals seamless and quick, especially for those who may need an appointment immediately, but also ensures that students don’t disappear from the university’s health system once they are referred and aren’t removed from the existing resources they may already be accessing on campus.
Mantra Health’s collaboration portal also includes the student in their own care. This empowers students to ask questions in between appointments about medication or therapy-related concerns. Additionally, this leads to other benefits including, students are more likely to continue to get care, take their medications correctly and it helps to build the level of trust and rapport necessary to establish and maintain the therapeutic relationships which are essential to the success of mental health treatment.
Learn more about Mantra Health and how they work with universities at https://mantrahealth.com/for-universities.
About Mantra Health
Mantra Health is a digital mental health clinic on a mission to improve access to evidence-based mental healthcare for young adults. Through augmenting high-quality clinical services with software and design, we’re on a mission to improve the mental health of over 20 million university and college students through partnerships with higher education institutions and health insurance plans. Learn more about Mantra Health at MantraHealth.com.
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