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Pitt students to have free online mental health counseling access

Students at Pittsburg State University soon will have access to free online mental health counseling anytime, from anywhere, thanks to a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.

The counseling will be provided by a third-party company that provides telehealth services; students merely log in using their Pitt State credentials, and it’s completely private.

“We have a great partnership already with the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas in our Bryant Student Health Center, which provides counseling during the hours it is open, but we realize that our students’ needs don’t always fall during that time,” said Deatrea Rose, associate vice president of Inclusion & Belonging.

Students still will have the ability for face-to-face mental health counseling with an on-campus therapist through the CHC at the Student Health Center.

“The telehealth service is immediate, there is no waiting on an appointment, which will only enhance what the health center is doing and impact the campus population in a substantial way,” Rose said. “We’re very happy to be able to offer this.”

Rose noted that the service is especially important for minority students, a group that nationally has been historically less likely to seek treatment because of social stigmas and lack of access.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, almost half of white Americans with mental illnesses receive therapy or counseling. Only 33 percent of the Hispanic and Latinx community, 31 percent of the Black community, and 25 percent of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities receive needed therapy.

Rose said students have shared that they wish there was a more diverse pool of therapists from which to choose, and this third-party service will provide that.

“There will be a menu of options so that students can choose characteristics of someone they can relate to — someone who might look like them or identify with them,” she said.

In addition to this service, PSU is currently working with Community Health of Kansas to house a therapist within the athletic department on a recurring basis to provide student-athletes with immediate access, who are under tremendous pressure and stress, Rose noted.

“We want to let students from all walks of life know there is no judgement, that if you need help there is a way,” Rose said.

Freshman Jadyn Freeman appreciates the aspect of being able to have counseling in a place where a student feels comfortable, such as their dorm room or apartment.

Junior Jaden Wallace appreciates the convenience and the expanded options.

“Having online therapy resources will be good because it gives us instant access to the resources and allows us to work with our schedules,” Wallace said. “And it’s nice to have a choice to talk with an individual that we can relate to.”

How to access it

Rose anticipates students gaining access to the service in April. Students will be notified by email and on social media when the system is live.

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