BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Southern University Law Center (SULC) has launched a mental health app for students called META. The teletherapy app offers mobile counseling services to students so they can gain easy access to mental health providers.
“We have a proud tradition of equipping our diverse group of students with the best possible tools to help them succeed. The META mental wellness program allows students to choose their own counselor and avoid the stigma of anyone knowing they’re in therapy. META’s positive messaging inspires students to consider their emotional health,” said John K. Pierre, chancellor of SULC.
The app connects to a network of licensed counselors, therapists, and psychologists. Students can download the app, select a provider, and get counseling from the privacy of their phones through messaging, video, or voice calls. The app is free to download, and sessions can be paid for with a credit card or insurance.
SULC says according to the American College Health Association, college students are struggling more and more with stress, anxiety, and depression than ever before, with 60% having experienced “overwhelming anxiety” within the past year. However, many students do not seek help due to privacy concerns and the stigma surrounding mental illness.
"As they are pursuing their legal degree, they endure a high level of stress. There’s a stigma that follows it and a lot of students come to me and say, ‘I don’t want to do it because of the stigma,’” said Dorothy Straughter-Parker, ADA director for the law center.
Officials with SULC say this is a concern for students of color as well. According to a survey of 43,000 college students conducted by Boston University, African American students with symptoms of mental issues are half as likely to seek treatment as white students.
The META app makes providers available during nights and weekends to better suit students’ busy schedules.
“The ease and availability of this huge resource makes mental health more present on the mind, and you kind of lose the stigma because everyone has access to this,” said Joseph Ventulan, a law student.
“I’ll be able to talk to someone if I need to, if I feel like I’m getting too stressed out,” said April Love, another law student.
SULC also holds quarterly mental health and wellness meetings in which local professionals provide free services to students such as blood pressure readings, HIV testing, etc.
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