Mental health issues are on the rise for college students. Boston University in a study led by Sarah Ketchen Lipson found, “Half of students in fall 2020 screened positive for depression and/or anxiety.” A total of 83% of all students participating in the study also said their school work was negatively impacted by their mental health.
After realizing the increasing issues with student mental health, UCC’s administration implemented the Student Assistant Program, known as SAP, a 24/7 remote access emotional, financial and legal counseling platform for students. Hanna Culbertson, UCC’s wellness counselor, currently offers short-term personal and crisis counseling for students to assist with common concerns such as anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, interpersonal concerns and stress management relating to personal or student life.
“The SAP first began back in June 2021 using CRSSA COVID relief funding, and it was extended from January 2022 to August 2022”, said Culbertson in an email. “We applied for and were awarded funds to continue the program through a grant from the Whipple Foundation. The SAP provides additional free confidential mental health counseling to UCC students, families and roommates,” said Culbertson.
The life balance support benefits offered through the SAP are free and available to all UCC students and their families, as well as anyone living with students. The 24-hour HIPPA compliant phone services offer confidential advice, support and practical solutions for real-life issues. Students and members of their household can call 844-492-0546 or 1-866-750-1327. “Let the support person know you are a UCC student, and I will help them to get connected to services,” said Culbertson.
A phone call begins a cursory assessment process identifying the level of care required by each caller. An account is created and linked to a provider, in some cases as quickly as one and two days. There are also immediate crisis intervention specialists for those needing immediate care.
Each issue brought to staff can be addressed in up to six free remote counseling sessions.
For issues not requiring a live person, there is the TESS AI chatbot that will text ideas for coping skills, emotional support and wellness.
The SAP staff can also help fill out forms, set up appointments and even set up client accounts if necessary for client care. The online SAP platform created by BetterHealth also gives students e-access to an online wellness resources library that includes recipes, legal forms, videos, articles, assessments, training as well as personal and professional development guides.
Along with one-on-one sessions, students can have access to 10 peer support group sessions per issue with groups addressing veterans, LGBT, caregiving, parenting, depression, anxiety, bipolar, postpartum and more.
“From June 2021 to December 2021, the SAP served 32 students with 44 total visits, expanding access for more students to mental health services,” said Culbertson. She said the top identified needs of those seeking services through the SAP are “isolation, lack of support, stress and anxiety and emotional/psychological needs.”
“The sessions are virtual so that students can access counselors licensed in the state of Oregon to meet with them virtually. The SAP can also connect students to virtual peer support groups for a variety of things such as grief, addictions, veterans, etc,” said Culbertson. “They also offer one free legal consultation, connection to free legal forms and support and resource connection for helpful resources around eldercare and/or childcare.”
For more information, watch the 30-minute introductory video hosted by Margaret Bond, client success manager, from Uprise Health and Reliant Behavioral Health or contact Culbertson, MSW, CSWA, wellness counselor at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 541-440-7896.
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This is one of eight articles in our special series on mental health. For the rest of the articles in this series, select any of the links below:
Editorial – One stress factor we have control over: our diet
UCC student discusses his college anxiety
Trapped Behind the Mask: Neurodivergent student shares college pandemic struggles
Students, staff identify mental health treatment barriers amid rising need
Science-based coping strategies reduce mental stress, improve mental health
Poor mental health is costing employers billions
UCC students share their anxiety coping strategies