BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — With studies continually finding that more than half of college students meet criteria for depression or anxiety, Indiana University is further broadening access to student mental health services through a partnership with TimelyMD and its TimelyCare platform.
The virtual mental health service will begin to roll out to IU campuses in late March. By late summer, undergraduate and graduate students on all IU campuses, as well as IU Online students, will have free access to TimelyCare.
“The health and well-being of our students is a top priority for me and our university as a whole,” IU President Pamela Whitten said. “The ability to give our students 24/7 access to the mental health care they need will be a significant supplement to the in-person services available on our campuses. When students have the resources they need to best manage their health, they are better positioned for a successful experience at IU.”
TimelyCare will offer students a variety of services, including on-demand mental health and emotional support, appointment-based mental health counseling, health coaching, a peer support community and digital self-care content. Services will be available 24 hours a day through either a phone or video call, and individuals are typically connected with a TimelyCare provider in less than five minutes. TimelyCare will be available for students regardless of whether their campus offers psychiatry services.
Licensed providers and counselors are available in all 50 states, and more than 50 percent of TimelyCare’s mental health providers identify as people of color. In addition, the service includes professionals who identify as LGBTQ+, speak multiple languages, and/or have various religious and spiritual beliefs. Students will have the ability to choose a specific provider or see the first available.
“Removing as many barriers to seeking help as possible was one of our primary goals with introducing a virtual mental health care option,” said Aaron Carroll, IU’s chief health officer. “Feedback from our task forces was key in ensuring we’re offering something that will meet the needs of our students not only with specific services, but in the way they want to access them and with the flexibility to match their schedules.”
While IU faculty and staff on all campuses can access mental health services for themselves through SupportLinc, the university’s employee assistance program, they will be able to assist a student in need through TimelyCare. A dedicated phone line will connect faculty and staff directly to the service’s care team for guidance on helping students who may be in distress.
In addition to implementing this virtual mental health care option, the IU Student Mental Health Initiative has increased the number of resources available to students and worked to reduce the stigma around mental health and seeking care. Throughout the spring semester, the Office of the Chief Health Officer will be gathering more feedback from students, expanding mental health trainings and rolling out the U Bring Change to Mind student group to all IU campuses.