How online therapy can benefit college students during COVID-19

While anxiety and depression are high among teens, more college students are dealing with mental health issues than ever before. College campuses have certainly not escaped the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seeking help is essential, but finding it can be challenging. Shutdowns and social distancing measures may limit access to counseling services on campuses. Students may even be afraid to venture to a health center.

Online therapy can be a way to safely get help. We talk about what online therapy entails and why it might be an option for college students.

You are not alone

First, understand that if you (or your child) are experiencing mental health issues, you are not alone.

The National Alliance on Mental Health highlighted a study with alarming findings:

  • 50% of students have struggled with anxiety
  • 80% of students feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities
  • 50% of students rate their mental health as below average or poor
  • 30% of students report they have problems with schoolwork due to a mental health issue

COVID-19 and mental health

The COVID-19 crisis has turned normal college life on its head. Nearly all college campuses shut down in the early spring, which meant students had to go home. Many campuses opened up for the fall semester but with caveats.

Social distancing measures are being strictly enforced, and group activities are almost universally banned. The lack of social contact can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. The fear and uncertainty – coupled with the daily barrage of bad news – has an effect as well.

What was already an epidemic among college students may grow even worse as they deal with the psychological consequences of the pandemic, ranging from anxiety and depression to trouble sleeping and stress eating.

Colleges do offer counseling services, but they may be limited. Online therapy can offer a solution.

What is online therapy?

Online therapy makes counseling services available to students in a private space and at a time of their choosing, via a HIPAA-secure live video connection. Getting connected to a therapist can often be accomplished within 24 hours. With online therapy, there is no waitlist, no commute to an office, and no chance of running into peers.

Online therapy works in much the same way as a visit to a physical office. It can be just as beneficial to patients as a face-to-face appointment. Students can find help for managing anxiety, depression, low motivation, relationship issues, family issues, and difficulties with attention.

Short-term online therapy may also be helpful in dealing with the stress of these unprecedented times.

How to find counseling online

Although there has been a rise in apps offering counseling services, it’s best to look to established therapy practices that provide counseling via live video conference. Many practices have therapists who are licensed in multiple states, making them available to college students in different geographies.

Ensuring a student’s privacy is important. It’s also important to develop a management plan in case a crisis arises during therapy and help is needed where the student lives. With these safeguards in place, online therapy can be an excellent treatment option for college students.

Georgetown Psychology can help

Georgetown Psychology offers an integrated approach to care. We provide comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment options to help improve and manage your mental health. We will work with you every step of the way to help you overcome and handle challenges in a healthy way.

If you would like to discuss online therapy options at Georgetown Psychology, contact us today.