Talkspace is one of the most rapidly growing mental health apps in the country. As the United States continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, Talkspace has been instrumental in helping users cope during these difficult times. Recently, Kenyon College announced approval for the use of Talkspace by its students. During a student council meeting the benefits of mobile therapy apps were discussed, and the student officers voted in favor of making Talkspace a treatment option for students who need help with mental health issues.
According to the Kenyon student council, this is a great opportunity for students to access mental health resources while they are away from campus and practicing social distancing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly every university across the country has had to send students home. Because of the close quartered-nature of universities, they can quickly become breeding grounds for contagious diseases. While this is usually limited to colds and the seasonal flu, the threat of COVID-19 is more dangerous. Therefore, universities have opted to send their students home, having them conduct virtual classes with professors instead. Even though college comes with its stresses, having to attend college virtually during a time of crisis can bring a whole new level of anxiety.
Talkspace is one of the leaders in the world of telehealth. The app has more than one million users. Talkspace connects users with licensed therapists and mental health professionals through multiple channels, including on a mobile device. Users start by answering questions about themselves and their history. After which, Talkspace will connect them with multiple therapists who can provide assistance. Then, the user can select which therapist they would like to work with, enter a Talkspace “room” with their therapist, and send messages 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
The service is the perfect opportunity for Kenyon to help connect students with mental healthcare opportunities, because of licensing regulations in Ohio. Due to local laws, non-Ohio residents are not allowed to access tele-health services that would normally be available at Kenyon College. In an effort to ensure that the same types of counseling services would be available to students in need, the University sought out telehealth companies like Talkspace to find a reasonable alternative.
But it’s more than just providing resources that comply with state and federal regulations. One of the major benefits of Talkspace is the availability of therapists. Students can send messages in the moment of stress, rather than waiting until a weekly appointment. Regardless of whether they are struggling with depression, anxiety, or something else entirely, there are therapists ready to take the call. Talkspace is also able to address issues related to diversity. Diversity is important because students need to be able to relate to the therapist who is providing them with mental health assistance. Kenyon has stated that one of the barriers is that it is hard to recruit people who want to live in the local area. Through Talkspace, students can access therapists who come from all backgrounds and identities. Therefore, students can connect with a therapist who they feel understands them a little bit better.
Right now, the relationship between Kenyon and Talkspace is going to run through this academic year.
Talkspace has seen numerous advances in its services and, thanks to the increased traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, Talkspace has also expanded the services it provides. This includes free services to new users and new social media channels through Facebook and Instagram. With the increase in demand for its services, Talkspace has also been providing discounts for services related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The novel app has acknowledged that this is a time for companies to step up and help those in need. Without a doubt, Talkspace sees this moment as a tremendous opportunity to change the way the United States addresses mental health issues. This is a tremendous benefit to college students not only at Kenyon but across the country.
For now, the administration at Kenyon is hard at work helping the app go live for students. If Kenyon has a positive relationship with Talkspace, this might encourage wider adoption of telehealth services.
There is a severe lack of mental health resources across the country. University students face unique challenges as they transition from childhood to adulthood. There are numerous trials and tribulations that they are going to face. While it is nice to have access to mental health resources and counseling on campus, some students are going to feel more comfortable if they have control over who provides therapy. They might also like the idea of confidentiality, not having to worry about someone seeing them walking into campus health. This is where Talkspace can be helpful. It will be exciting to see how Talkspace provides benefits to students at Kenyon.