While it’s no secret that mental health is definitely a problem on college campuses, there is still a taboo around admitting that you are in need of mental health help, particularly if you are a guy. According to therapist Katherine Glick, “Having emotional issues in general is frowned upon in our society based on traditional gender roles.” So in response, one fraternity is offering an alternative way for their members to get help from a licensed therapist if they find themselves in need.
Talkspace is a text service that allows people to connect with a therapist 24/7 via unlimited text messages for a fee of $32 a week. Talkspace cofounder Roni Frank believes that her startup is able to offer a unique service that can allow people to get help while navigating the stigma that can come along with mental health issues. As she said at the Future of Therapy conference earlier this year, “The stigma is dangerous. Because of stigma, people prefer to suffer in silence,” and being able to reach out via text may be able to help deal with that shame some people feel in admitting they are in need of help.
And now, for the brothers of Alpha Tau Omega, the service is free for the first three months, with ATO footing the bill to make sure their members are getting the help if they need it. According to GANT Daily, the move is a natural one as universities find themselves unable to meet the increasing mental health needs of their students, and that includes fraternity members. “Over the years, we’ve had some members who’ve committed suicide,” ATO’s CEO Winn Smiley told CNNMoney. “Those [instances] raised concern about ongoing mental health issues,” which lead ATO to seek out this partnership with TalkSpace.
Glick, who works with Talkspace, says that it’s important that the service is being offered, due to the prevalence of mental health issues on campus, particularly anxiety and depression. “Anxiety is predominant [among college students]. Around social stuff, personal identity, ‘Where do I fit in in this new social circle?’” Glick told CNNMoney. “There’s also anxiety about performance — people who are perfectionists driving to do 100% all the time.”
Props to ATO for stepping up and offering a much-need resource to their members. Here’s hoping other organizations follow suit. .
[via GANT Daily]