University debuts free, 24/7 mental health support for students
A West Michigan college is offering students easily accessible mental health services.
Western Michigan University (WMU) announced its launch of year-round, 24/7 mental health teletherapy services in partnership with online student wellness organization Uwill.
The service will be available to all enrolled WMU students and is free of charge.
Uwill will offer students 30-minute sessions. After three initial appointments, students can access two additional sessions. WMU mental health staff then will work with students to explore options going forward given the spectrum of support on campus.
In addition to the on-demand teletherapy sessions, Uwill also provides unlimited access to a 24/7, year-round crisis hotline by calling (833) 646-1526.
WMU launched the partnership in response to a need identified by students, faculty and staff for after-hours access to mental health professionals for health crises and other concerns. The service is available to enrolled students no matter their location — whether a student is on the Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids campuses, working remotely or studying abroad.
“We know many college students struggle with their mental health,” said Reetha Raveendran, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students at WMU. “A study recently reported by the Mayo Clinic found that one in three students experienced significant depression and anxiety. This study reflects a larger body of research that points to considerable need in this population.
“At Western, we’re pleased to offer an additional support that helps address that need and, very importantly, is directly responsive to what our students have asked for.”
Uwill allows students to choose a therapist based on their own unique needs and preferences such as gender, age or ethnicity, on their own schedule, and through a medium that works best for them — phone call, messaging or video conferencing.
“Uwill, along with on-campus resources, provides an additional access point for students to explore wellness strategies to help better cope during difficult times,” said Brian Fuller, director of Counseling Services at WMU’s Sindecuse Health Center. “As a result, students should experience greater satisfaction with their lives and a greater level of success.
“It is important to focus on your mental, emotional and physical health; focusing on just one could negatively impact another. At Western, we strive to give students the tools and resources they need to thrive — academically, personally and professionally,” Fuller said.