3 Va. universities to provide 24/7 mental health care for students

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, three-quarters of students have reported struggles with anxiety and depression, and more than 50% have reported their mental health as “fair” or “poor,” according to a recent Inside Higher Ed survey.

Now, three Virginia universities are partnering with a telehealth company to make sure students have all the mental health support they need to navigate college life and succeed in their studies and in their lives away from school.

Starting in the fall 2022 school year, students at Virginia Tech, James Madison University and Virginia Commonwealth University will have access to 24/7 virtual care options from licensed mental health providers and counselors through TimelyMD. It’ll be like a virtual extension of already-existing campus counseling centers.

“The mental and emotional health of every student, whether they are on campus, with family, or in our larger community is integral to student success at Virginia Tech,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, according to a news release. “Learning, and social engagement occurs around the clock in today’s higher education environment, and it’s important to support our students’ educational experience and well-being with accessible mental health coverage.”

Faculty members will also be provided assistance with guiding students to TimelyCare resources.

“These services will complement what is already provided through our student health and counseling centers,” said JMU President Jonathan Alger. “TimelyCare will be yet another resource to which the university community will have access through a wonderful statewide partnership.”

The partnership with telehealth company TimelyMD will link students with a swath of services on their phones or other devices including appointment-based mental health counseling, on demand mental health support through TalkNow, psychiatric support, health coaching and digital self-care content, and care navigation with basic needs.

They’ll also be eligible for 12 no-cost counseling visits during the year.

“Putting the needs of students first means providing an exceptional educational experience with support for total student well-being,” said Michael Rao, president of Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health. “This partnership provides a tool for students to access mental and emotional health services when it works best for their needs, improving their ability to succeed and thrive in their studies and in their lives inside and outside of school.”

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