University Business May 2018 - 28

TeleHELP
point of crisis before seeking treatment. In
emergency rooms, they may well languish
while waiting to see a psychiatrist.
As an ER physician, Dr. Dorsha
James, co-founder and CEO of telemedicine services provider CampusRx, is passionate about keeping those students out
of the ER.
Teletherapy provides an additional
level of screening and support to students
who may fall through the cracks, James
says. When these professionals recognize
the signs of a more serious issue, they can
refer the student to local resources for
greater support.
The face of teletherapy
Campus clinicians generally start with

a needs assessment by phone or in person, and then connect students to virtual
counseling delivered by staff or an outside provider. On its own, teletherapy is
most effective for students who are highly
motivated and have less intense behavioral health needs, such as family, roommate and relationship trouble, anxiety
and stress, grief, LGBTQ issues, or mild
depression.
Counseling models and costs differ.
Students using TAO, for example, first
complete online lessons delivered via videos covering their condition, such as anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Then
they participate in a 15-minute phone or
video check-in session with the institution's staff therapist.

4 common hurdles in finding conventional therapy
1. Access
At a rural institution or one near rural areas, students may not be able to find
a local therapist because there are few in the vicinity, says Raquel Contreras, a
licensed psychologist and director of counseling and psychological services at
Clemson University in South Carolina.

2. Affordability
Mental health providers often may be out-of-network or may not accept
insurance at all. In communities with few therapists to begin with, it's even
harder to find one who offers sliding-scale fees, says Contreras.

3. Appointment availability
Nationwide, most psychiatrists' schedules are overbooked. Patients who are
stable with their medications can have brief checks via Skype or Facetime with
these same professionals, says Dr. Herbert Harman, regional director of the
psychiatric practice for telemedicine provider Vituity.

4. Aptitude
Not all students have the time or organizational skills to get to the college
counseling center during business hours. More than 45 percent of young adults
who stopped attending college for mental health-related reasons did not request
accommodations; and half of them did not access mental health services and
supports, according to a National Alliance on Mental Illness study.

28 | May 2018

TAO charges universities a flat, annual
fee based on enrollment so all students can
access online tutorials addressing the full
range of behavior health issues. Some staff
therapists incorporate the tutorials within
group and individual therapy.
CampusRx institutions also pay
based on overall student enrollment, but
monthly instead. That works out to about
$6 to $8 per student, per month, at a college with 5,000 students, says James.
Some companies, such as BetterMynd,
bill the students' insurance directly on a
fee-for-service basis for each session.
It was started by a graduate of Colgate
University in New York, which became
BetterMynd's first client. Dawn LaFrance,
Colgate's director of counseling and psychological services, says that because of
the university's upstate New York location,
teletherapy could be the only way students
of color find a therapist who looks like
them. Also, the counseling center lacks the
resources to offer weekly sessions all year-
which is a non-issue with teletherapy.
Testing and rolling out teletherapy
When researching teletherapy providers,
check with peer institutions to help make
an apples-to-apples comparison.
Starting small, with two or three
highly motivated clinicians who can work
out the program's policies and guidelines,
is how teletherapy expert Marlene Maheu
recommends launching a teletherapy service on campus.
"There's no need to jump in with both
feet. See how student groups respond to
this," says Maheu, founder and executive
director of Telebehavioral Health Institute, a 20-year-old firm that trains teletherapists. "It's not all or nothing."
Clinicians, not administrators, should
set the pace for what teletherapy will look
like on campus, she recommends. Institutions could run a pilot study with faculty
volunteers to sample different teletherapy
delivery methods.
A TAO feature that allows staff to
track how many students are using
the service and which modules they're
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