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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M offers online mental health resources to students

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Photo by Photo by Aiden Shertzer

With Mental Health Awareness Month being observed throughout May, students are reminded and encouraged to prioritize their mental health. 

Mental health is an increasing issue for students all across the country. According to the 2022 Healthy Minds Study, more than 60% of college students responded that they have met the criteria for at least one mental health issue. With increasing tuition rates, major world and national crises and the stress of being a full-time student, Texas A&M students have been requesting more accessible mental health resources. 

A&M has responded to this ongoing crisis by providing My SSP, or My Student Support Programs, a 24/7 online and confidential mental health counseling option that is free for students. My SSP is an online app that students can access via their A&M or personal email. 

A professional licensed counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS, Kristie De La Garza said that My SSP is a great resource for students that want easier access to mental health counseling. 

“My SSP is a mental health support app that we felt was a great resource for students,” De La Garza said. “My SSP provides mental health support across the globe with over 30,000 counselors. It allows our students to have access to mental health support 24/7, no matter where they are at.”

My SSP is accessible to students via the App Store or Google Play Store. Additionally, A&M has added a direct link to the My SSP website on the A&M’s Canvas dashboard. 

“What students do is go to the App Store and download the My SSP app,” De La Garza said. “In order to be provided with the premium package, they just have to identify themselves as associated with [A&M].” 

De La Garza said students at A&M can use My SSP in a number of ways, including texting or calling counselors. 

“[Students] can utilize My SSP through their phone using a chat feature, and they can connect with a counselor in no more than 90 seconds,” De La Garza said. “Students can also call and speak with a counselor on demand or in the moment. As well, students can schedule ongoing counseling appointments with the same provider.”

Along with my SSP having multiple features where students can access resources, My SSP counselors have 24/7 availability for students. 

“My SSP is a free and confidential connection with a counselor at all times,” De La Garza said. “About 70% of the students who utilize this service are calling after hours or on the weekends.”

Although CAPS has offered My SSP to students for over a year, De La Garza said not enough students have accessed this resource.

“Not enough students know about it,” De La Garza said. “We’ve had My SSP for a full year now, and we have had around 3,000 students download the app and register with My SSP.”

With increasing mental health concerns, students have spoken on their own mental health and what they think about My SSP. Economics sophomore Connor Toon expressed his concern for mental health issues as a student. 

“I think being a student comes with a lot of responsibilities and factors in life that can stress you out,” Toon said. “Being a student has one of the biggest impacts on mental health, especially being so young and not having a developed brain yet. It can have a very negative impact on mental health.”

When neuroscience sophomore Sofia Campos was asked if she had heard about My SSP, she said no. 

“I haven’t heard about My SSP,” Campos said. “I would maybe use it after learning about what it is because mental health is important and it can get hard as a student.”

According to the CAPS office, over 4,000 students go to CAPS to receive mental health counseling each year and over 16,000 appointments are provided to students. A&M has a campus of over 70,000 students who will need access to mental health resources, and they plan to continue to provide it, including new measures such as My SSP.

“A big part of it is understanding more about mental health,” De La Garza said. “We are in a mental health crisis from being in a pandemic, social justice issues and the stressors that people and students experience are higher. All these things are impacting the wellness of students and there is less stigma about struggling with mental health now. People are talking about it and wondering about what support and help is available.”

For immediate mental health concerns, call the CAPS 24/7 mental health line at 979-845-2700.

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