By Patricia Dean, LCSW
There is an increase in reports of anxiety and depression among college students. A survey conducted by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors found that anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students at 41.6 percent. Thirty-six percent of responders reported depression and 35.8 percent reported relationship problems.
With the increase in mental health concerns being reported on campus, the college counseling centers are becoming overwhelmed and cannot meet the ever-increasing demand. A Center for Collegiate Mental Health report found that college students’ use of counseling center resources increased by an average of 35 percent over a 5-year period. The average enrollment increased
by 5 percent during that time. Institutions are working on alleviating waitlists by increasing the size of their counseling center
staff. Despite the increase in staff, many campuses are still struggling to keep up, forcing some institutions to rethink treatment approaches. One of the ways they are doing this is by connecting students to licensed therapists via online therapy, also known as teletherapy. Online therapy is a form of therapy that is provided online through a HIPAA-secure live video connection. Online therapy makes counseling services available to students in a private space at a time of their choosing. Getting connected to a therapist can often be accomplished within 24 hours. With online therapy, there are no waitlists, no commutes to an office, and no chance of running into peers.
With online therapy becoming more popular, there has been a rise in apps offering counseling services. When looking for virtual therapy, students and their parents can look to established therapy practices that provide teletherapy via live videoconferencing. Many practices have therapists who are licensed in multiple states making them available to students at colleges across the country. In addition to ensuring a student’s privacy, it is important to develop a crisis management plan in the event a crisis arises during therapy and help is needed on the ground, where the student lives. With these safeguards in place, online therapy can be an excellent treatment option for college students.
If you would like to discuss online therapy options at Georgetown Psychology, please contact our office at (202)333-6251 or visit our website www.georgetownpsychology.com.