April 22, 2024

Beginning with the fall 2022 school year, students at James Madison University, Virginia Tech, and Virginia Commonwealth University will have access to 24/7 virtual care options from licensed mental health providers. The measure is being implemented because of rising reports of anxiety and depression among students since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a joint media release from the three schools.

A recent Higher Ed survey Survey: College students reflect on mental health and campus help (insidehighered.com) revealed that 75 % of students have reported struggles with anxiety and depression, with over 50% reporting that their mental health is “fair” or “poor”.

“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. “Learning and social engagement occur 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.”

Sands stated that the three schools, members of the Virginia Higher Education Procurement Consortium, will provide access to 24/7 virtual care options from licensed mental health providers and counselors through TimelyMD. It will be like a virtual extension of already-existing campus counseling centers, the release states.

TimelyCare is a 24/7 virtual extension of campus counseling center resources, with the goal of improving student well-being, engagement, and retention. Through TimelyCare students can use their phones or other electronic devices to select from a wide-ranging menu of virtual care options from licensed counselors and mental health providers– at no cost and without the need to bill costs to traditional insurance. Each student will also be allowed up to 12 scheduled counseling sessions throughout the school year, at no cost.

“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.”

Faculty and staff will also have information available that will allow them to guide students to TimelyCare resources.

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

Services will be available for students beginning with the fall 2022 semester.


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