VCU enhances mental health and wellness resources for students and staff – VCU News

Virginia Commonwealth University is enhancing mental health and wellness resources for students, faculty and staff with the goal of promoting a safe and healthy campus environment.

The mental and emotional health of students and staff is important because they affect all aspects of life — relationships, physical well-being, and productivity and success in school and work, said Charles Klink, PhD, vice president for student affairs. VCU.

“Now more than ever, it’s especially important that we all actively monitor our thoughts and feelings and take time to care for ourselves and each other,” he said.

Student and staff health and wellness resources at VCU can be found at Ramstrong, a one-stop location that addresses the eight dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, social, financial, intellectual, vocational, environmental and spiritual.

RamStrong provides information on VCU’s newest mental and emotional health resources, as well as frequently requested resources already available, including university student health services, employee health, health advisory information (such as for COVID-19), RecWell programming and work/life. does programming through VCU Human Resources.

“At VCU, we want to foster a culture of care by providing and promoting the resources we have to help our students and staff feel their best,” said Meredith Weiss, PhD, vice president for administration.

New resources for students

For students, VCU is offering free access to TimelyCare, a 24/7 virtual care service that addresses common concerns that can be diagnosed and treated remotely. The service – which is provided in addition to university counseling services – enables students to connect with a therapist and receive treatment with flexibility in scheduling.

TimelyCare includes three services for VCU students:

  • Scheduled consultation. VCU students have access to 12 free 45-minute counseling sessions with a licensed counselor for the 2022-23 academic year. Counselors can offer support for stress and anxiety, adjustment issues, relationship issues, depression, grief and loss, trauma and PTSD, addiction, panic disorder and more. Students are encouraged to download the TimelyCare app, find a therapist they want to work with, and start scheduling sessions.
  • Talk now Provides free on-demand access to a mental health professional 24/7. It provides support for stress and anxiety, suicidal thoughts, feeling depressed, anxiety, relationship anxiety, social isolation, depression and more.
  • Health Coaching. VCU students can access no-cost, virtual appointments with health coaches to help initiate or maintain optimal sleep, nutrition, exercise, weight and stress management for overall wellness.

“We know that throughout the pandemic, there are many students who have struggled with mental health concerns,” said Jihad Aziz, Ph.D., director of university counseling services. “We strongly encourage students to download the TimelyCare app to access crisis, therapeutic and health coaching services.”

Another new service for VCU students is [email protected], a platform that helps people find tips and tools for everything from mental and physical health to friendship and balance.

[email protected] is really about helping students set their own goals,” Aziz said. “For many students, they are very self-motivated when it comes to their well-being, and this helps them do those things.”

In addition, students are invited to the Alive! Mental Health Fair at VCU, June 26 in the University Student Commons from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In the program, students will be asked who they can contact—perhaps a professor or a friend—if they’re feeling down. Following the program, VCU will reach out to those trusted contacts and let them know they have students they feel comfortable talking to, thank them for being a part of VCU’s culture of care, and provide information about resources they can offer students.

Another new service to support students this fall is Cognito, an online conversation simulation that helps faculty and staff identify signs that students may be in trouble and provides guidance on how to talk with students and connect them to appropriate campus support.

New resources for employees

Various services are also being rolled out to support the mental health and well-being of faculty and staff.

  • Enhanced mental/emotional health resources. TimelyCare will be available to employees later this fall and will provide access to mental and emotional health resources from anywhere at any time. Currently, only benefit-eligible employees can access mental and emotional health resources through employee assistance programs (EAPs) as part of health coverage. TimelyCare will be available to all employees. They will be able to log in using their VCU eID and password.
  • Enhanced Employee Health Services. VCU and VCU Health staff currently work at West Hospital, 1200 E. Broad St., on the MCV campus. Employees can access a range of health and safety services through Health Services at the clinic in Room 120. VCU will improve access to employee health services on the Monroe Park campus through online and in-person resources, starting with a new nurse call line for employees who want to speak with a physician regarding general or work-related health or safety concerns. As plans to pilot a Monroe Park campus clinic in the spring.

The new RamStrong platform will also be an important resource for VCU employees this academic year.

In addition to counseling provided through EAPs and TimelyCare, employees can use RamStrong to access mental and emotional health wellness resources through VCU Human Resources work-life programs.

“Resources include in-person and virtual sessions such as mindfulness meditation, yoga and other behavioral health tools, as well as employee discounts for wellness services,” said Cindy Fares, employee recognition and wellness program administrator at VCU Human Resources. “Employees can use RamStrong to access programming provided by VCU Recreation and Wellness, which offers physical and mental/emotional wellness programs.”