On Nov. 16, Kenyon will adopt the My Student Support Program (My SSP), a mental health support service, for the Kenyon community. ProtoCall and TalkSpace will still be available to students for the first week that My SSP is implemented before the College transitions completely to the new program. According to Senior Director of Wellness Chris Smith, My SSP will better align with Kenyon’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, as it will provide a greater variety of ways for students to connect with mental health counselors than the previous resources did.
My SSP, ProtoCall and TalkSpace are mental health support services paid for by the Cox Health and Counseling Center to complement its existing mental health resources. The College originally learned about My SSP through the Association of University & College Counseling Center Directors, a professional community committed to educating about and advocating for collegiate mental health. The College decided during the spring of 2022 to transition from ProtoCall and Talkspace to My SSP in order to provide a resource that would allow students to engage with counselors in a number of different ways. These efforts toward increased accessibility, along with other recent developments such as a new partnership with the JED Foundation, represent the College’s commitment to the health and well-being of the Kenyon community.
My SSP is a confidential, 24/7 mental health support service that is available to students via phone call or live text chat through an app. Students will be able to easily connect with professionally trained counselors, and faculty and staff can consult with counselors about how to best provide support to students who are struggling. The app also includes a digital library of content related to health and well-being.
My SSP is better suited to support the health and well-being of the Kenyon community than ProtoCall or TalkSpace because it will offer a greater variety of means for students to receive support, according to Smith. While My SSP allows students to call or message a counselor, ProtoCall offers only phone communication, and TalkSpace offers only asynchronous text-based support. My SSP will also be available in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, French and Spanish, unlike ProtoCall and TalkSpace which were available also in English. “We hope that students will find help to be more accessible due to the multiple languages offered and the mobile app chat option,” Smith wrote in an email to the Collegian.
Like with ProtoCall, Campus Safety will be able to connect students to My SSP when they call the campus emergency line. “Protocol has been a great source for students after hours or when the students don’t need a full personal counseling session. However, the …. texting, voice calls, a hybrid of the two and expanded language capabilities sound like some features that will really encourage students to use it,” Director of Campus Safety Michael Sweazey wrote in an email to the Collegian.
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