Tarleton Expands Student Telehealth Counseling

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STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University students can now access free mental health assistance through the My Student Support app. My SSP features a robust, curated resource library with a wealth of content addressing the many domains of wellness. 

Resources include articles, podcasts and videos on topics ranging from mental health to physical health to relationships. Students can also get help by phone, text or chat, and in multiple languages. 

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to offer this resource to our campus community, made possible by Higher Education Emergency Relief funds,” said Caris Thetford, Director of Tarleton’s Student Counseling Services. “Over the past several years as demand for mental health support has risen, Student Counseling Services has worked hard to meet that demand in flexible and creative ways.”

Telehealth services were launched during the pandemic, and they continue as a flexible, virtual connection point. Thetford noted that these newer options complement but do not replace customary in-person sessions.

“We’ve added informal support, including workshops, skills groups and consultations, to our traditional counseling options,” she said.

My SSP is available online through myssp.app or through the Lifeworks My SSP app in Apple or Android operating systems. Student Counseling Services will continue its 24-hour phone number and its campus-wide student wellness work.

“We’re still all over campus providing outreach, training and workshops. We’re still providing group and individual counseling,” Thetford said. “We’re glad to continue our efforts while My SSP provides resources and short-term telehealth counseling for students who aren’t able to come to one of our centers or who maybe aren’t interested in traditional counseling but would still like some support.

“We recognize there are many paths to wellness and that traditional counseling is only one option. At the end of the day, our goal isn’t just to provide counseling. To paraphrase Dr. Michael Yapko, a clinician whose work influences ours, our goal is to expand wellness. That doesn’t happen exclusively in a counseling session. Getting resources into the hands of our students, resources that are available 24-7, supports this goal.”

Several Texas campuses employ My SSP to provide additional layers of support. 

“We’re encouraged by the promising results,” said Dr. Diana Ortega-Feerick, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs. “Students who may not access traditional counseling for a variety of reasons are accessing My SSP. This resource helps reduce barriers because it’s available any time, anywhere, in many languages.”

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