As student mental health needs increase, Mississippi State University and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley respond by expanding student support
CHICAGO, June 17, 2020 – Morneau Shepell, a leading organization in international and domestic student support, has partnered with Mississippi State University (MSU) and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) to provide additional wellbeing support for their students. The partnerships address the increased use of technology among students who are seeking support. As institutions transition to remote environments, many schools have also adapted their mental health support resources to reach students wherever they may be studying, no matter their geographic location.
Morneau Shepell’s offering allows institutions to expand their reach and help meet student mental health needs through 24/7 chat, video and tele-mental health. When using Morneau Shepell’s student support program (My SSP), students are able to access self-directed digital content in addition to connecting with master’s and PhD-level clinical advisors who speak their language and understand their unique challenges. My SSP aims to support the wellbeing and retention of students by complementing existing campus resources.
MSU responded by expanding its tele-mental health services to support both out-of-state and international students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Jeremy Baham, MSU’s assistant vice president for student support and wellbeing, explained that the agreement between MSU and Morneau Shepell improves availability and access to mental health support for MSU students. MSU counselors are limited to practicing in states where they are licensed, so the additional My SSP service supports students anytime, regardless of location.
In addition, UTRGV added My SSP to support not only select out-of-state students, but also their student athletes and medical school community. My SSP will support the institution’s commitment to special populations facing significantly increased anxiety and stress levels, both because of the regular pressures these students face in their demanding programs and the added difficulties COVID-19 has caused. My SSP’s language component will also make the app more accessible to students, including students who speak English as a second language and students currently living in Mexico. All content within the app will be in their native language including on demand articles, assessments, and COVID-19 support resources.
Students have unlimited access to My SSP technology and support, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for real-time support in multiple languages including English, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese (Simplified Chinese by chat). Students may also opt to schedule ongoing mental health support work with a dedicated clinician over multiple sessions, similar to the traditional cognitive behavioral therapy model. In the response to the pandemic, several new self-directed resources have also been added, including evidence-based health screenings to evaluate the risk of mental health problems, virtual fitness sessions, and a wellness webinar series, covering topics such as resiliency, coping, and social technology.
“We are thrilled to partner with such dedicated institutions and we are equally committed to expanding support to many new students through the launch of My SSP,” said Stephanie Walker, director of student support programs, Morneau Shepell. “The investment in student mental health support by MSU and UTRGV underscores how pressing the need is and their prioritization of it should be commended, especially considering the pandemic’s impact on students. We are confident that the response from students accessing My SSP will be positive and we are proud to support these students and campus communities.”
About Morneau Shepell
Morneau Shepell is a leading provider of technology-enabled HR services that deliver an integrated approach to employee wellbeing through our cloud-based platform. Our focus is providing world-class solutions to our clients to support the mental, physical, social and financial wellbeing of their people. By improving lives, we improve business. Our approach spans services in employee and family assistance, health and wellness, recognition, pension and benefits administration, retirement consulting, actuarial and investment services. Morneau Shepell employs approximately 6,000 employees who work with some 24,000 client organizations that use our services in 162 countries. For more information, visit morneaushepell.com.
About Mississippi State University
Mississippi State University is a comprehensive, doctoral degree-granting university encouraging its diverse student body to learn and grow at the highest level. A Carnegie Foundation R1—Very High Research Activity university, MSU is also among the National Science Foundation’s Top 100 research institutions. Its undergraduate and graduate research programs in such areas as engineering, arts and sciences, and agriculture provide limitless opportunities to its more than 22,220 students that hail from all 50 states and 83 countries. MSU’s designation as the FAA’s national Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, its work to strengthen global food security and find solutions for the world’s most prevalent health concerns, demonstrate that MSU students and researchers are driven to make a difference.
Visit MSU online at www.msstate.edu or follow Mississippi’s leading university on social media @msstate and #WeRingTrue.
About University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.
UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.
Mississippi State University
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley