Colleges and universities need to improve their Mental Health services
I’ve attended two universities to further my education. During both my educational stints I’ve needed support for mental health beyond what I could do for myself. At both universities I sought out help from health and counseling centers and found that the service I received was sub-par or non-existent.
I had some casual discussions with a few friends and relatives who have attended a university who also expressed that they at some point attempted to get mental health support from on campus services. They too had similar experiences.
Why bad mental health services on campus?
1. Not enough staff to meet the needs for the amount of students that needed help
At one point I was told the center could only handle 1:1 counseling for a few dozen students a semester and thus was turned away.
2. those students that were given counseling felt the experience in personal and sometimes rushed
A friend of mine would show up at 8am for the first session of the day, only for the therapist to arrive 10 mins late, end the session a few mins early
3.Rigid schedule and locations in which services were offered limited people from being able to take part
My cousin who worked two jobs while in school was not able to take part in therapy or drop in sessions as they only had afternoon time slots.
For many private universities mental health services are included as part of tuition.
If colleges are unable to staff up their mental health services then they need to provide another way for students to get access to mental health care while they work it out.
I suggest universities pay for students to have access to a service like Talkspace.
Benefits to Students
- anyone can access online therapy in an accessible, convenient and inexpensive (for the university compared to hiring more therapists) way.
- The therapists are licensed, and students can choose one that works best given their circumstances or issues.
- It’s convenient. Students can access their therapist whenever they want for less or more pressing issues. No long waits.
- It’s easy. Communicating with the therapist is as easy as texting or doing a video chat.
Cost to the University
Let's say a university needs to hire 50 licensed therapists at $50,000 salary per person. Each can handle a case load of 40 students a year. 50 therapists can help 2000 students a semester. That would cost $5,000,000 in salaries alone. Not to mention the cost of office space.
For as little as $32 a week per student, Talkspace can fulfill the needs of each student for $1,664 a year. With an investment of $5,000,000 you could serve approximately 3,004 students in a year, including breaks between semesters.