As the pandemic continues to impact student mental health, The University of Texas at Austin and Vanderbilt University respond by enhancing student support
CHICAGO, November 25, 2020 – Morneau Shepell, a leading organization in international and domestic student support, has partnered with The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) and Vanderbilt University to provide additional wellbeing support for students. Both agreements address the need to expand mental health resources to reach students wherever they may be studying, no matter their geographic location. The opportunity to extend support across state lines continues to increase in importance as many institutions will continue to offer online learning options this spring.
Morneau Shepell’s student support program (My SSP) allows institutions to expand their reach and help meet student mental health needs through 24/7 chat, video and tele-mental health. When using My SSP, students are able to access self-directed digital content, health assessments, and virtual fitness, 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 reducing barriers to access and integrating with existing campus resources.
“With 35,000 counselors across more than 160 countries, including 18,000 in the United States alone, Morneau Shepell is in a unique position to support students in every state and globally, and we’re thrilled to work with such dedicated institutions to provide My SSP,” said Stephanie Walker, director of student support programs, Morneau Shepell. “The investment in student mental health support by The University of Texas at Austin and Vanderbilt University underscores how pressing the need is and their prioritization of equity for all students to access mental health support should be commended, especially considering the pandemic’s impact on wellbeing. 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.”
UT Austin recognized the need for a tele-mental health partner to assist in expanding their support across state lines, as many counselors are limited to practicing in states where they are licensed. My SSP will be utilized to support both their out-of-state and international online learning students. Marla Craig, senior associate director for clinical services at the Counseling and Mental Health Center at the University of Texas at Austin, explained that the partnership between UT Austin and Morneau Shepell improves availability and access to mental health support for UT Austin students. “Serving our students’ mental health needs, regardless of where they are located, is our top priority,” said Craig. “We are excited about the access to care that this will bring for our students.”
With a number of students accessing the My SSP app outside of the United States, My SSP’s language component will also make the offering more accessible to UT Austin students. All content within the app can be delivered in a students’ preferred language including on-demand articles and COVID-19 support resources.
In addition, Vanderbilt University added My SSP to support their out-of-state and abroad remote-study students. My SSP will support the institution’s commitment to ensure that all students, regardless of location, have access to well-being resources.
“Given the unprecedented challenges happening at this time, our students are facing one of the most difficult academic years we have seen,” said G.L. Black, Vanderbilt assistant provost and deputy dean of students. “We’re always looking for ways to ensure students who are studying away from campus have access to important resources and support as an extension of our Student Care Network, a holistic and integrated network of health and wellness services for students.”
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 five 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.
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 The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin, founded in 1883, ranks among the 40 best universities in the world. It supports some 51,000 diverse students with top national programs across 18 colleges and schools. And as Texas’ leading research university, UT attracts more than $650 million annually for discovery.
Additional resources about mission and core values are here: https://www.utexas.edu/about/mission-and-values
About Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University, founded in 1873, offers an immersive residential undergraduate experience, with programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development. The university also is home to nationally and internationally recognized graduate schools of law, education, business, medicine, nursing and divinity, and offers robust graduate- degree programs across a range of academic disciplines. Top-ranked in both academics and financial aid, Vanderbilt is committed to the strength of its interdisciplinary research enterprise and to inclusive excellence, believing that profound breakthroughs happen when scholars of different perspectives, races, gender identities, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds work together. Vanderbilt—an independent, privately supported university—and the affiliated nonprofit Vanderbilt University Medical Center engage in frequent, cross-disciplinary collaboration to drive innovation and positive change across society at large.
Additional resources about mission, goals and values are here: https://www.vanderbilt.edu/about/mission/
The University of Texas at Austin