Mental Health Services
Any student that may need specialized, professional mental health services are referred to qualified and licensed specialists. Students have access to 24/7 mental health clinicians through LifeWorks, a mental health organization, for any mental health concerns. During new student orientation and classroom visits, students are guided to download the MySSP application on a smartphone or how to connect via phone or computer for immediate access to a mental health clinician.
Mental health disorders are becoming increasingly prevalent among college students. According to the American College Health Association (ACHA; 2018), mental health conditions are now estimated to affect 35% of all female college students and 20% of all male college students.
Adjusting to college life is a significant challenge for many students who may struggle with exposure to new forms of academic stress and new social demands. Students navigating these challenges may experience loneliness, lack a sense of campus belonging, and can be vulnerable to experiences such as a first depressive episode. Experiencing mental health problems can adversely impact success at school. A recent national survey of 31,463 college students in the United States found that several common health behavioral factors were negatively affecting their academic performance in the past year. *
The poor state of mental health appears to be even more troubling for international students in the United States. With F-1 visas to study full time in America increasing by 376% between 2001 and 2012, it is not surprising that the demand for mental health services is also increasing. In addition to the traditional difficulties of higher education, international students can encounter significant language barriers, cultural differences, and reduced social support due to the distance of friends and family at home. These factors are suspected to put international students at particular risk for mental health issues, specifically depression, anxiety, and general mental distress. *
The “My Student Support Program” (My SSP) for international students aims to address the barriers that international students face when seeking mental health support. A general goal of the program is to increase the number of students reaching out for support and to offer real-time support. My SSP provides 24/7 remote mental health, wellbeing, and acculturation support to students via the use of multiple technological platforms: the My SSP app, website, and telephone line.
Students also have the option of connecting with counselors in their preferred language and from their culture, to help ensure students are in contact with professionals who understand their unique needs and can offer the best strategies for support. Real-time services are currently available in seven core languages via the app, online, and telephone, while ongoing support can also be facilitated via telephone and video appointment. Self-directed resources including a multilingual library of articles and videos are also available on the My SSP app. Some of the key features of the My SSP service are listed below.
Key Features of My SSP Service
- Clinical support from Masters-level and PhD advisors/counselors who are fluent speakers
- Real-time 24/7 support via online, chat, and telephone in seven core languages: Mandarin and Cantonese (Simplified Chinese chat), French, Spanish, Arabic, Korean, and English
- Ongoing support by appointment in additional languages with fluent-speaking clinicians via internet video and telephone
- Clinicians experienced in supporting those facing the challenges of studying in a new country
- Formalized, bi-directional referrals from designated campus personnel and My SSP to complete the “circle of care” for students
- Full integration with on-campus resources and crisis response plans
- Referrals from My SSP to campus resources for practical issues that may arise (e.g. immigration, residence life, etc.)
- Self-directed resources on the My SSP app and online
- Surveys with outcomes-based success measures to monitor efficacy
Install the app and learn more here.
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