COLLABORATION

Williams College, Talkspace partner to tackle student anxiety

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Williams College students can access Talkspace services all year round.

Data consistently shows that a student in college is particularly susceptible to anxiety problems, with as many as three in five in the US saying they’ve experienced them over the past year.

Yet, on average, only 10 to 15 percent have sought help at counselling centers. This suggests that a college student would prefer to handle his or her anxiety issues alone, which can be daunting and even dangerous, if the student is ill-equipped to handle high levels of emotional stress and is unable to get past the issue.

The reasons for why they don’t seek help vary. Sometimes it’s because college counselling centers are simply unable to cope with the volume of mental health sufferers seeking help. Sometimes it’s because of time commitment issues or even fear on the student’s part of seeking help from a stranger. 

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This is why the services of global telebehavioral health specialist Talkspace can be a lifesaver. Through Talkspace, users connect with therapists via text, video, picture and audio messages and can do so from anywhere, at any time.

The firm currently boasts a network of over 5,000 licensed therapists who offer their services through an easy-to-use and HIPAA-compliant web and mobile platform.

Recognising that students struggling with anxiety problems could seriously benefit from such a service, Williams College, a private liberal arts institution in Williamstown, Massachusetts, struck a partnership deal with the firm last week.

Thanks to the partnership, Williams College students can now access the Talkspace platform to speak with its licensed therapists daily, no fewer than five days per week, for free. They can send unlimited texts, audio and video messages to a dedicated therapist, and enjoy total confidentiality, a feature that will help make help-seeking more accessible and convenient.

They can also choose a therapist to work with and request a change at any time, for any reason. The service will be offered year-round, including during summers and study abroad semesters.

“Developing a service that is as effective as it is convenient has opened the door to therapy for so many,” says Talkspace Chief Commercial Officer Lynn Hamilton in a press release.

“The flexibility Talkspace offers seamlessly integrates into the busy schedule of a college student, who may not otherwise have time to make regular appointments. We couldn’t be more excited to begin our higher-education partnership with Williams College.”

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Talkspace’s services will complement the institution’s on-campus resources, which already includes one of the best-staffed college counseling centers in the country. 

The school’s suite of mental health services includes uncapped on-campus access and promotional efforts aimed at developing student wellbeing skills and practices to teach them how to cope with anxiety.

“Demand for mental health services at colleges and universities in the US continues to rise and we are committed to providing a diverse portfolio of services and wellbeing promotion efforts that meet the unique needs of students, and to developing innovative approaches to meet this need,” says Dr. Wendy Adam, Director of Integrative Wellbeing Services for Williams College.

“At Williams, we are well-resourced and have a high utilisation rate for our services, about 30 percent of our student population each year, yet we continue to pursue ways to reach students who may not choose to access traditional mental health services, who study abroad or have limited access to care when on school breaks.”