It is that time of year when students are heading to their college campuses, many for the first time ever, and others for the first time since the pandemic. The past 18 months or so have been tough for everybody, including those college students.
A Boston University survey from February shows an increase in depression and anxiety in young people. The survey found 83% of college students said their mental health negatively impacted their academic performance, and two-thirds said they felt lonely and isolated.
On the positive, 94% of students said they would not judge someone for seeking out help for mental health.
The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system is expanding its mental health options for its community college students.
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“For two years, we now have an agreement with TimelyMD,” said Terence Cheng, president of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system. “It is a company that will provide virtual services for all of our community college students that will encompass mental health visits, as well as physical health consultations as well.”
Students will have access to free, 24/7 telehealth options.
“We have gone through as a society and our community college students, specifically, all they have suffered the trauma that they've experienced through the COVID pandemic, we think it is truly imperative that we provide this kind of service to try to ensure their student success," Cheng said.
School officials said in recent years, the demand for mental health support has increased and they're looking to make resources more accessible.
“We have been providing different kinds of service campus to campus, but by consolidating and flattening the playing field for this type of service, as a system, we think we can support and reach as many students as possible, with as little confusion as possible," Cheng explained.
Cheng said the telehealth option was a logical step given that they've been serving so many students virtually.
“We're going to see how the program works with our students once we open the semester. But based on the numbers of students that we were serving across our campuses during COVID, while we could not be in person, the volume of students that we served, was considerable during that time, and we did so virtually. So we think that our student body, and its comfort with technology, and also its comfort with the idea of seeking support for mental health concerns. We think that this is going to be a great resource that our students will take advantage of," Cheng said.
The contract costs around $649,000and is funded through federal Covid-19 relief money.
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