As part of Heidelberg University’s ongoing response to COVID-19, students now have free, immediate and unlimited access to medical and mental health counseling visits during the winter break.
Heidelberg’s Stoner Health and Counseling Center is partnering with TimelyMD, a telehealth company that specializes in higher education, to offer BergCare, providing health and mental health services over the next eight weeks while students are away from campus for the holiday break. Heidelberg received funding from the Ohio College Initiative Grant, through the CARES Act, to create and launch BergCare.
According to John Sharp, associate director of counseling at Heidelberg, the pandemic has caused a startling rise in anxiety, depression and other mental health issues among 18- to 24-year-olds. Seventy-five percent of college students said in a recent survey that their mental health has worsened since the pandemic began, but less than half that percentage have tried telehealth services.
Mental health issues can overwhelm college students, and being away from campus removes their safety net for support. “By utilizing TimelyMD, not only for mental health support but for medical services while our students are away from campus, we can provide a continuity of care that’s needed especially during this time,” Sharp said. “On-demand care also will be extremely valuable to our students.”
“There are so many benefits to using this service, including its convenience, so I sincerely hope our students take advantage of it,” Sharp said. “I believe they will.”
BergCare will ensure that Heidelberg students don’t fall through the cracks while they are at home by offering them a complete-care solution for campus health, with on-demand medical care, on-demand mental health counseling, and appointment-based counseling programs specifically designed for college students. The program allows students to have 24/7 access to free medical and/or mental health counseling visits any time, from licensed physicians and counselors anywhere in the United States.
Seeking care on-demand is as easy as making a video call. From an app on their phone or other device, students can see the profiles, faces and basic identifying details of a diverse range of medical providers or mental health counselors available to them. They can choose to meet with a specific provider or select the first available. Typically, students are having a video consultation with someone within 5-10 minutes.
TimelyMD enhances campus resources by helping limit the spread of illness, reduce the stigma of mental health counseling, and grant peace of mind to students and their families. In the survey, less than 30 percent of college students indicated that they have tried teletherapy as a coping strategy. TimelyMD breaks down barriers and increases access for students in need while they’re off campus for winter break
“Our mission at TimelyMD is to improve the well-being of college students by making virtual medical and mental health care accessible anytime, anywhere,” said CEO and co-founder Luke Hejl. “Providing telehealth services to Heidelberg University over the break ensures continuous medical and mental health care students need until the spring semester.”