Montclair State University’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has announced a partnership with a free teletherapy service called Uwill.
Dr. Melissa Zarin, the associate director of CAPS, explains Uwill will provide additional support from what mental health service providers offer to students on campus.
“What’s intended to do is be an adjunct to what we offer so that [we’re] taking the burden off the counseling centers to be able to meet the needs,” Zarin said. In our case, we have 22,000 students here on campus that we’re trying to meet the mental health needs [of] so it’s to help support both ends. It’s not to replace us but its to help provide a service especially for students who are I would say [are a] marginalized population, who have less income to use on therapy, less access. Part of the hope was that by allowing schools to contract using Uwill, we will enable students to have more access to mental health as it’s been really challenging to do that right now.”
Sharice Smith, a senior visual arts major, said she feels a lot of people are recovering from mental health struggles post-pandemic and this additional help will benefit many.
“In my opinion, with the free therapy that the school provides, I think that’s the best thing that could happen for students especially since there’s a lot going on, especially after [the coronavirus] happened,” Smith said. “A lot of people are just going through healing from that.”
Smith said through this program students are going to have someone to turn to when their own system of trusted friends or peers might not be available to support them.
“School also comes with a lot of its own anxieties and problems so it’d be great if somebody could be there, be a listening ear for you especially when everybody else has their own problems going on it’s kind of hard to have that person to call back on and talk to all the time so it’s good if that is provided for students because we definitely need that,” Smith said.
Uwill launched on June 13 but will only be free until April 1, 2024.
Zarin said students can meet with a Uwill therapist two times a week.
“The sessions are only thirty minutes but you can see a clinician twice a week if you need, and again you can see them weekly until April 1,” Zarin said.
Students can decide on a time that works for them and fits their schedule. Availability ranges from day to night and on the weekends.
Students can also choose any therapist they want based on their liking. They can choose the availability of their therapist and other preferences such as gender, ethnicity, issue and language.
Amber Wilson, a junior information technology major, said it’s important for students to be able to choose a therapist based on their preferences.
“I think it’s cool especially if people have different needs,” Wilson said. “People come from different backgrounds. If they want to get someone specifically that fits more to how they grew up and what their problems are now then yeah sure why not. I think that’s good for people to have a resource if they need it.”
Zarin said there are three different ways to contact your therapist on the Uwill app.
“And when you are on the app you can have that therapy either through video, phone call and [text],” Zarin said.
Alexander Saldana, a junior psychology major, said he believes that this service is convenient.
“Honestly, I think Uwill is going to do a lot of great things just because of how convenient it is for the students with so many different schedules and different things going on,” Saldana said. “I’m a part of different clubs myself, it just makes it really convenient to be able to schedule when you want, who you want kind of thing so I’m definitely up for that.”