Virginia Commonwealth University is improving mental health and wellness resources for students, faculty and staff as part of its goal to promote a safe and healthy campus environment.
The mental and emotional health of students and employees is crucial because it affects all aspects of life, including relationships, physical well-being, and productivity and success in school and at work, said Charles Klink, Ph. D, VCU’s vice president for student affairs.
“Now more than ever, it’s especially important that we all actively monitor our thoughts and feelings and take time to care for ourselves and each other,” she said.
Health and wellness resources for VCU students and employees can be found at RamStrong, a one-stop location that addresses the eight dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, social, financial, intellectual, occupational, environmental and spiritual.
RamStrong provides information on VCU’s newest mental and emotional health resources, as well as frequently requested resources that are already available, including student health services, employee health, counseling information health (such as COVID-19), RecWell programming, and work and work life. programming through VCU Human Resources.
“At VCU, we want to enhance a culture of care by providing and promoting the resources we have to help our students and employees feel better,” said Meredith Weiss, Ph.D., vice president for administration.
New resources for students
For students, VCU offers free access to TimelyCare, a 24/7 virtual care service that addresses common problems that can be diagnosed and treated remotely. The service, offered in addition to college counseling services, will allow students to connect with a therapist and receive treatment with scheduling flexibility.
TimelyCare includes three services for VCU students:
- Scheduled advice. VCU students have access to 12 free 45-minute counseling sessions with a licensed counselor for the 2022-23 academic year. Counselors can provide support for stress and anxiety, adjustment issues, relationship issues, depression, grief and loss, trauma and PTSD, addiction, panic disorders, and more. Students are encouraged to download the TimelyCare app, find a doctor they’d like to work with, and start scheduling sessions.
- speak now offers free 24/7 on-demand access to a mental health professional. It offers support for stress and anxiety, suicidal thoughts, feeling sad, worry, relationship problems, social isolation, hopelessness and more.
- Health coaching. VCU students can access free virtual appointments with health coaches to help initiate or maintain optimal sleep, nutrition, exercise, weight and stress management for holistic wellness.
“We know that throughout the pandemic, there have been many students who have struggled with mental health issues,” said Jihad Aziz, Ph.D., director of University Counseling Services. “We are really encouraging students to download the TimelyCare app to access crisis coaching, therapeutic and health services.”
Another new service for VCU students is [email protected], a platform that helps find tips and tools for everything from mental and physical health to friendships and finding balance.
“[email protected] is really about helping students set their own goals,” Aziz said. “For a lot of students, they’re very motivated about their well-being, and that helps support them to do those things.”
In addition, students are invited to Alive! Mental Health Fair at VCU, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on September 26 in the University Student Commons.
At the event, students will be asked who they can contact, perhaps a teacher or a friend, if they feel distressed. After the event, VCU will reach out to those trusted contacts and let them know there are students they feel comfortable talking to, thanking them for being a part of VCU’s caring culture and providing information about the resources they can offer students.
Another new service to support students this fall is Kognito, an online conversation simulation that helps faculty and staff recognize signs that students may be struggling and provides guidance for talking to and connecting with students with appropriate campus support.
New resources for employees
Various services are also being implemented to support the mental health and well-being of faculty and staff.
- Enhanced mental/emotional health resources. TimelyCare will be available to employees later this fall and will provide access to mental and emotional health resources from anywhere, anytime. Currently, only benefit-eligible employees have access to mental and emotional health resources through employee assistance programs (EAPs) as part of health coverage. TimelyCare will be available to all employees. They will be able to log in with their VCU eID and password.
- Improved employee health services. Currently, VCU and VCU Health employees can access a range of health and safety services through Employee Health Services at a clinic in Room 120 of Hospital West, 1200 E. Broad St., at MCV campus. VCU will improve access to employee health services on the Monroe Park campus through online and in-person resources, starting with a new nurse call line for employees who want to talk to a doctor about general health or safety concerns or work-related, as well as plans to pilot a clinic on the Monroe Park campus in the spring.
The new RamStrong platform will also be an important resource for VCU employees this academic year.
In addition to counseling provided through EAP and TimelyCare, employees can use RamStrong to access mental and emotional wellness resources through VCU’s Human Resources programs.
“Resources include in-person and virtual sessions such as mindfulness meditation, yoga and other behavioral health tools, as well as employee discounts for wellness services,” said Cindi Phares, employee recognition and wellness program administrator. in VCU Human Resources. “Employees can also use RamStrong to access programming provided by VCU Recreation and Well-being, which offers physical and mental/emotional wellness programs.”
Subscribe to VCU News
Subscribe to VCU News at newsletter.vcu.edu and get a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings delivered to your inbox.