FAIRFIELD, Conn., Sept. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Fairfield University announces a first of its kind initiative that will provide graduate students with access to counseling via video, chat, or messaging through a teletherapy platform that enables students to discreetly select among licensed mental health professionals. Developed in partnership with Uwill, a social impact startup backed by Run-DMC founder Darryl McDaniels, the program will provide a lifeline for students, as colleges and universities across the country respond to the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on mental health.
“As we expand online graduate offerings at the University, we will continue to not only provide excellence in academic programs, but in student support services and opportunities as well. This program puts students in the driver’s seat by enabling them to identify and select counselors that they are comfortable with, in a modality that they decide works best for them,” said Vice President, Digital Strategy and Online Education, Jill Buban, PhD.
Designed to empower students by enabling them to evaluate and match to the mental health professionals they select, Uwill is the only secure teletherapy platform to offer a full suite of communication modalities, including chat, video, and messaging. The company recently secured $3.25 million in seed funding led by McDaniels, as well as ed tech industry leaders such as Bright Horizons CEO Stephen Kramer, and Princeton Review founder John Katzman.
According to Susan Birge, associate vice president for Health and Wellness and director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Fairfield University, “Access to mental health counseling has been an important request of our graduate students in recent years. At the heart of Fairfield’s mission is the Jesuit value of cura personalis, or care of the whole person — mind, body and spirit. Uwill offers a service that provides care of the whole person and meets individuals where they are.”
Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, the demand for mental health services was growing, with as many as 60 percent of college students reporting significant anxiety in the past year. New research suggests that the global pandemic has exacerbated this challenge for colleges and universities, with eight in 10 students reporting that their mental health has been negatively affected over the past few months.
“While the urgency of addressing mental health issues on campus has increased dramatically, this isn’t a new challenge for students or institutional leaders,” said Uwill CEO Michael London. “Historically, the stigma associated with seeking help in-person, and the impersonal nature of most online platforms, has been a major barrier to access. This service provides students with access to mental health professionals that they can select and vet themselves, to ensure that they get the personalized, on-demand support that can help them to thrive academically.”
Uwill is transforming campus mental health by facilitating best-in-class, on-demand counseling for college students. The company’s platform, rooted in sophisticated machine learning technology, provides a secure solution for experienced mental health professionals to connect with students through all modalities of teletherapy.
Fairfield University is a modern, Jesuit Catholic university rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S. and across the globe are pursuing degrees in the University’s five schools. Fairfield embraces a liberal humanistic approach to education, encouraging critical thinking, cultivating free and open inquiry, and fostering ethical and religious values. The University is located on a stunning 200-acre campus on the scenic Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.
SOURCE Uwill; Fairfield University