Dartmouth Student Government provides free and unlimited access to mental health counseling on campus

Uwill, a teletherapy provider, will provide flexible access to online mental health counseling for students, following pressure from student advocacy.

by Matthew Curiel | 21 minutes ago

Beginning Nov. 1, all Dartmouth students will be entitled to free, unlimited access to Uwill, a student teletherapy provider that offers licensed online mental health counseling, according to message from the College.

The new teletherapy services come along with other mental health measures, including extending the no-enrollment deadline to Oct. 10 and the Day of Caring on Oct. 21, according to Dartmouth Student Government President David Millman ’23. He added that DSG is advocating for teletherapy services to address students’ mental health needs in light of recent student deaths.

According to Millman, students will be able to communicate with a counselor they’ve chosen to work with via video, chat or messaging, and will have access to 24-hour crisis support. This includes graduate students as well as students on part-time, personal leave or medical leave. Although Uwill is a worldwide service, the college will offer access to Uwill’s teletherapy services only in the United States, according to Millman and DSG Vice President Jessica Chiriboga ’24.

“It’s a great way to keep our community mentally healthy,” said Sri Korandla ’26. “Therapy is something that is definitely good for your overall well-being. This is not something you should only do if you have a problem. It’s okay to work through your week with a therapist.

Michael London, founder and CEO of Uwill, said there are two main components of Uwill’s teletherapy services that will be offered to Dartmouth students: “Umatch” counseling services and “Uhelp,” an emergency crisis connection.

London said that with Umatch, students can decide which counselor they would like to work with based on their needs and preferences. From there, students can schedule as many sessions as they wish with their advisor. If a student decides their advisor isn’t a good fit, they can change their advisor at any time, according to London.

Alternatively, Uhelp offers students access to 24-hour crisis support that connects them directly to a therapist trained in trauma, according to London. While other crisis liaisons have an automated phone system or other automated technology, London said Uwill has “removed all the friction associated with [intakers and phone trees].” He added that if a student uses Uhelp, a Uwill employee will contact them to ask them to consider receiving therapy from Uwill.

The DSG is discussing the implementation of teletherapy from the fall term of 2021, according to Millman and Chiriboga. They explained that former Student Body President Jennifer Chian ’22 and Vice President Maggie Johnston ’22 initiated the process of seeking a teletherapy service. From there, DSG collaborated with the Dartmouth Mental Health Alliance and Dartmouth Counseling Director Heather Earle to facilitate discussions around the logistics of implementing teletherapy services. At those meetings, they navigated the requirements by talking with college president Phil Hanlon, provost David Kotz and interim college dean Scott Brown, according to Millman.

“I think it’s really important here to see that student advocacy can work,” Millman said. “This was an entirely student project driven by a demonstrated student need.”

During the process of advocating for teletherapy services, Chiriboga explained that DSG had to decide which service would best meet the needs of college students.

“We looked at TimelyMD. We looked at Uwill and looked at some other options and tried to determine what worked best for us,” Chiriboga said. “We decided to choose Uwill because it was the best. It offered free 24/7 teletherapy and was unlimited.”

While Dartmouth will accept Uwill services starting Nov. 1, Millman said there is still room for student feedback.

“We will constantly evaluate the program. We don’t want it to be something that students don’t have good experience with,” Millman said. “We will be very active in trying to hear from students if they are comfortable sharing their experiences while using Uwill.”

Millman said students who would like to share their experiences and feedback with Uwill can do so directly with Dartmouth Student Government or the Counseling Center.

Chiriboga said the Uwill implementation is not intended to be used as the only resource available to address students’ mental health needs.

“I can never — as a friend, as a classmate, as a peer, suggest or recommend — one solution because one resource is not going to work for everyone,” Chiriboga said. “I encourage students to be kind and talk to their friends and family about different opportunities that might be right for them.”

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