Section: News

Virtual therapy platform Talkspace now available to students

Kenyon students now have access to the online virtual therapy service Talkspace—a resource that, in a time of crisis and high anxiety, will allow students to connect with thousands of licensed therapists remotely. In an email sent on Wednesday announcing the program, Vice President of Student Affairs Meredith Harper Bonham ’92 wrote that the class of 2020 is permitted to use the service until Aug. 15, 2020, alleviating concerns that they would not have access to the service after graduation.

Students have been instructed to register at talkspace.com/kenyon using their Kenyon email and a code which can be found in the email from Bonham. From there, they will be given a series of questions regarding why they are seeking assistance, their past experience with therapy and their current state of physical health. They will then be asked to choose between three clinicians selected to fit the student’s preferences. According to the list of FAQs included in Bonham’s email, students can send a message to their therapist at any time, though therapists typically indicate their availability prior to being chosen.

In addition, information that is shared between the student and the therapist will remain confidential.

“While Kenyon will receive quarterly reports regarding aggregate usage, we will never know who uses the service or for what purpose,” Bonham wrote in the email to the student body.

All communication will take place via the Talkspace platform, available as an app or website, where users can send video messages, text messages and pictures to their chosen counselor. The experience will be asynchronous, meaning that users and therapists do not communicate in real time.

Back in September, Talkspace announced its first higher educational institution partnership with Williams College. Because of the heightened need for counseling over the past few years, other institutions have been seeking ways for students to connect with therapists digitally due to the ever growing waitlists. But now more than ever, colleges across the United States have been scrambling to find adequate support for their students while they are away from campus.

In fact, Talkspace has even indicated on their website that they are introducing an anxiety management program specifically geared towards managing the stress caused by COVID-19, and it is available to all subscribers. Should students be interested, they are encouraged to reach out to their digital therapists for more information.

“As we all face unprecedented uncertainty and heightened anxiety during this pandemic, we at the College are especially mindful of our students,” Bonham said in the Student-Info email. “I encourage you to take advantage of these resources to support your mental health and overall well-being, and to please take good care.”

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