View from above of VCU's Compass area.
An agreement with TimelyMD will bring additional mental health assessment and treatment services to students at participating colleges and universities, including VCU. (University Marketing)

VCU, VT and JMU partner to provide greater mental health support to students

New services will be available beginning in fall 2022.

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On behalf of member institutions of the Virginia Higher Education Procurement Consortium, Virginia Tech, James Madison University and Virginia Commonwealth University have entered into a systemwide agreement for telehealth and tele-mental health services with TimelyMD.

This agreement will bring additional, much-needed mental health assessment and treatment services to all students at participating colleges and universities at a time when student mental health concerns and needs are increasing across the nation.

Mental health continues to be of particular concern to students and campus leaders. In a recent article from Inside Higher Ed, 14% of students say their mental health got worse at the start of the pandemic and remained unchanged, while only 10% said they haven’t had mental health challenges. Approximately 56% of students responding said their mental health was fair or poor, nearly 1 in 5 students had suicidal ideation, and a staggering three-quarters struggled with anxiety or depression while at college. No matter the numbers, the mental health challenges students experience continue to increase.

“The mental and emotional health of every student, whether they are on campus, with family, or in our larger community is integral to student success at Virginia Tech,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, Ph.D. “Learning, and social engagement occurs around the clock in today’s higher education environment, and it’s important to support our students’ educational experience and well-being with accessible mental health coverage.” 

TimelyCare serves as a 24/7 virtual extension of campus counseling center resources, with a goal of improving student well-being, engagement and retention. Through TimelyCare on their phone or other device, students can now select from a wide-ranging menu of virtual care options from licensed counselors and mental health providers – at no cost and without the need to bill costs to traditional insurance – including: 

  • On-demand mental health support (TalkNow).
  • Appointment-based mental health counseling.
  • Psychiatric support.
  • Health coaching.
  • Care navigation with basic needs.
  • Digital self-care content.

In addition, 12 scheduled counseling visits are available at no cost for each student throughout the year.

“Putting the needs of students first means providing an exceptional educational experience with support for total student well-being,” said Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of VCU and VCU Health. “This partnership provides a tool for students to access mental and emotional health services when it works best for their needs, improving their ability to succeed and thrive in their studies and in their lives inside and outside of school."

Faculty and staff will also have access to support that empowers them to guide students to TimelyCare resources to help students achieve a sense of well-being, live healthier lifestyles and improve their mental health. 

“These services will complement what is already provided through our student health and counseling centers,” said JMU President Jonathan Alger. “TimelyCare will be yet another resource to which the university community will have access through a wonderful statewide partnership.”

Services will be available for students starting in the fall 2022 semester.