New Data: College Students’ Demand for Virtual Mental Health Care Quadruples
November 2, 2021
Demand for virtual mental health care among college students is surging, according to new data released today by TimelyMD.
In an analysis of mental health visits through the TimelyCare app during the first half of the fall semester (August 1 – October 31, 2021), data suggest 24/7 access to virtual care is more important to students than ever:
- Mental health visits nearly quadrupled from August to October.
- The top three reasons students seek care are (1) anxiety, (2) depression, and (3) general stress. Providers report that acuity for suicidal ideation and intent, as well as eating disorders, are also increasing.
- Four out of 10 of visits occurred after regular counseling center hours and/or business hours.
- Students without appointments only waited four minutes to speak with a provider, while on-campus wait times often stretch into days or weeks.
During this time period, 92% of students sought scheduled therapeutic counseling or on-demand emotional support (TalkNow). The other eight percent opted for psychiatric care or health coaching.
“It is nice to have that virtual option where you can just go online and talk to somebody in the moment, like right then,” said Rita Rose, a senior psychology major at Coastal Carolina University, which rolled out TimelyCare access to all students in August.
“It got me thinking more about just making sure I take care of myself and I reach out to somebody if I need help with physical or emotional health.”
TimelyCare’s impact at Coastal Carolina University
Virtual care can improve student well-being, engagement and retention
Partnering with TimelyMD enables colleges and universities to exponentially broaden the reach and diversity of campus health, well-being and counseling services.
“TimelyCare serves as a 24/7 high-touch, virtual extension of campus resources, with a goal of improving student well-being, engagement, and retention,” said Luke Hejl, TimelyMD CEO and co-founder. “We have built a robust network of student-focused providers and a full-time student marketing team who ensure students get the help they need, whenever they need it. TimelyCare allows colleges and universities to break down barriers and address smoldering challenges to student well-being that the pandemic poured gasoline on and further ignited.”
Nicole Ruzek, director of counseling and psychological services at the University of Virginia, recently told Inside Higher Ed that UVA students liked in-person and virtual counseling, so the state’s flagship institution partnered with TimelyMD to provide both options. She pointed to increased access for students from families or cultural backgrounds that typically don’t seek mental health support for various reasons, as nearly half of TimelyMD’s providers are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).
“One of the big advantages of this new service is that it will allow students to access a broad range of therapists,” Ruzek told UVA Today. “So, if students are wanting to meet with a provider from a specific racial or religious background or with expertise in a certain area, they will be able to search for such providers and get connected. TimelyMD has let us know that if such providers are not available, if a student is looking for something very specific, they are open to feedback and they will try to hire more staff if they’re able to accommodate those needs.”
TimelyMD was the only higher-ed specific telehealth company on the market when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now it is the leading telehealth company focused solely on providing virtual medical and mental health care to college students at more than 130 campuses, including Duke University, Emory University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University and University of Notre Dame, as well as many HBCUs, community colleges and liberal arts colleges across the country. With growth fueled by a $60 million investment earlier this year, TimelyMD continues to innovate on the front lines of transforming student care.
TimelyMD is the leading telehealth provider specializing in higher education. Its mission is to improve the well-being of college students by making virtual medical and mental health care accessible anytime, anywhere. The comprehensive TimelyCare solution optimizes campus resources and supports clinical staff by delivering continuity of care to hundreds of thousands of students at more than 130 colleges and universities. Customizable by school, TimelyCare’s wide-ranging telehealth and teletherapy services – including on-demand and scheduled medical care, on-demand and scheduled mental health counseling, psychiatric support, health coaching, and faculty and staff guidance – are designed to help students thrive in all aspects of their lives.
Visit timelycare.com for more information.
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