(JACKSON, Miss.) — Jackson State University is partnering with META teletherapy to further assist students with mental health counseling. META is the nation’s first teletherapy app built specifically for college students, offering real-time video counseling with licensed mental health professionals from the privacy of a smartphone.
“The heart of our mission is to provide quality teaching to a diverse student body. All too often, students neglect their mental health because they are afraid that a therapist won’t understand them or their specific cultural background,” said Thomas Hudson, president of JSU. “META provides our students with immediate access to hundreds of providers from all walks of life in a safe and private environment.”
By partnering with META, JSU receives a vigorous mental health program, complete with self-service content directed at students and an ongoing awareness campaign, encouraging them to take care of their emotional and mental well-being.
“META online counseling does not replace the services offered by the Latasha Norman Center,” White noted. “Instead, it enhances the mental health resources available for students to receive.”
The app will work in tangent with the Latasha Norman Center for Counseling Services at JSU, which provides student-centered mental health services.
“The META online counseling services will further benefit JSU students by giving them an additional option to receive mental health counseling,” said Shanice White, director of the JSU Latasha Norman Center for Counseling Services.
On top of the common stress over earning an advanced degree, mental health issues are on the rise resulting from anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic. A recent survey from Mental Health America found that, from January to September 2020, the number of U.S. adults struggling with anxiety increased a staggering 93 percent over the same period in 2019.
While in the META app, JSU students can search META’s nationwide network of licensed and vetted mental health providers, including counselors, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists.
Students can also select a provider with whom they feel comfortable by narrowing their search based on provider characteristics, such as gender, therapy style, ethnicity, and language.
Students download the META app, choose a counselor, and receive chat, video, or voice counseling through the privacy and convenience of their smartphones. The app presents available online counselors for immediate connection, or students can leave a chat or voice message to schedule a future session.
Due to the increase in mental health concerns among college students, White shared that college and university counseling center staff spend extended time with multiple students and multiple student sessions weekly.
“This can create a backlog of students who inquire about and need mental health counseling. JSU’s partnership with META helps to ensure the students’ mental health needs are being met in a timely manner,” White said.
The JSU/META partnership was made possible through a grant managed by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
About META: META’s mission is to circumvent the stigma surrounding mental health by offering users an easy way to receive counseling without having to visit an on-campus location. The app is free to download, and sessions can be paid for via credit card or insurance. www.meta.app