USC students now have access to UWill, a virtual program that will provide quick access to mental health professionals, officials announced Nov. 3.
“This is a good option for you if you want to connect with a mental health professional within a very quick timeframe,” USC’s Student Health Counseling and Mental Health Services team wrote in an emailed statement about the service. “Typically, once eligibility is confirmed, you can log in and select an appointment that takes place within 24-48 hours.”
The UWill service launched on Oct. 17 to ensure students get the help they need during “rush season” — a time of year when therapy appointments are harder to come by, said Broderick Leakes, director of counseling and mental health at USC Student Health.
“It really helps us as we get to mid-semester — when we’re starting to hit our saturation point — to be able to partner with a company like UWill that can increase access and provide immediate care to our students seeking services,” Leakes said.
Daniel Gautt, assistant director of outreach and prevention services at Student Health, said UWill can be helpful for students who are curious about therapy, feel more comfortable getting help from professionals outside of USC, or who otherwise they may not have access to immediate care.
“The beauty of these services is that they are available on your phone 100% remotely and you can use them when you’re not at college,” Gautt said. “For those students who are considering entering mental health support or therapy services and say they are about to go abroad, I would recommend accessing UWill as a source of support.”
To use the service, students must first access their MySHR portal, where they can schedule an appointment and select the Counseling and Mental Health category. They can then select the ‘UWill’ tab and submit their request.
More than half of UWill providers identify as Black and Indigenous and people of color, and about a quarter identify as LGBTQIA, Leaks said.
UWill is the first of many products USC health officials plan to bring to students through their Therapy+ suite — a collection of apps and services geared to address the wide range of student mental health needs. They also plan to add services like the Oasis app, a service that will provide psychoeducation through self-study modules and allow students to directly message trained mental health professionals.
“USC has undergone a pretty massive expansion of mental health care and services, … we are [now] one of the largest, if not the largest, university counseling center in the country,” Leakes said.
Gautt added that Therapy+ aims to provide “those services that students may need to really engage in wellness and well-being, but don’t rise to the level of ‘I have to come in for a one-on-one session’ or ‘I have to to see a psychiatrist’. ‘”
Rachel Lichtman, associate director of public communications at USC Student Health, said these new programs will be phased in over the remainder of the academic school year. As for next steps, Leakes said the goal is to try to inform the student body about these new services to ensure as much access as possible to the care they need.
“Covid really opened up the world to more telehealth care,” Leakes said. “Just having access to a therapist — whether it’s a USC therapist in Counseling and Mental Health Services or a UWill therapist — having access to them from home or a place that’s convenient for you instead of having to travel to the counseling center or to travel to I think the location has really opened doors and a lot of access for our students.”