Top 7 Online Mental Health Counseling College Services

Although college life is almost always synonymous with fun and enrichment, it is also a place of anxiety for many young people. Students feel uncertain about themselves and their purpose, and these feelings can lead to depression! Of course, some find these situations manageable, but what happens when students feel trapped in these negative emotions?

The growing awareness of mental health is allowing increasing numbers of people, especially college students and young people, to be diagnosed with mental illness in many forms. It can be terrifying to navigate college for anyone suffering from depression, PTSD, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, or other mental illness.

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An extensive survey involving more than 8,000 students showed that almost 7% of students reported suicidal feelings and attempts. A related study by the American College Health Association (ACHA) demonstrated that anxiety and depression took a toll on students’ academic performance. As much as the colleges are dealing with these issues, the U.S. Department of Education is also struggling to address college students’ mental problems. 

The high demand for counseling has resulted in students frequently being placed on waiting lists, which the National Council on Disability observed. Also, students who choose to reduce their course loads are penalized by financial aid policies. This makes it even harder for students to cope with their mental issues. With all these dilemmas ongoing, the rising fame of online therapy is at least providing more ways for college students’ mental health to improve. Thanks to the advent of technology, telehealth and telemedicine now tackle issues about mind and behavior.

Explore the Best Online Mental Health Counseling Services for College Students using these skip-tos:

What is Online Therapy?

The process of online therapy involves meeting with your therapist over a secure HIPAA-compliant (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) platform online. This type of therapy is often carried out with a messaging app, a video chat, or telephone. Because these are secure, you will no doubt that your issues will be used against you or leaked to other people.

Online therapy can offer the same, and sometimes even better, results than traditional face-to-face therapies. In addition, it comes with many advantages that make it a more convenient option for college students than physically visiting a clinic. And also, because when a person can talk to a therapist from the comfort of their home, it may be more comfortable for them to open up.

RELATED: 10 Habits For Your Mental Health In College

Advantages of Online Mental Health Counseling Services

Many in-person psychotherapies are becoming online due to the social distancing required in this current COVID-19 crisis. Learn the benefits of online therapy if you’re considering taking this approach. Check the benefits of e-therapy, also called teletherapy, before deciding whether it is right for you. 

  1. Great For Students Living In Remote Areas

People living in rural, off-the-grid areas have access to mental health information and treatment via online therapy. However, people living in such areas are disadvantaged because mental health clinics are few or nonexistent where they live. There may be cases where it’s too troublesome for them to drive hours away to see their doctor. 

It can often burden many people seeking therapy to drive long distances and take time away from busy schedules. With reliable internet access, online therapy provides you with relatively quick and easy access to treatments. As a student, your time is gold, and every hour counts as there are many things and obligations to do. So going for teletherapy is a better option indeed. 

  1. You can express your frustrations to a therapist

What do you imagine your regular session with a therapist would seem like? Some people expect the process of therapy often resembles what’s in a movie, with someone laying on their couch and venting about their day. The majority of times, however, therapy is simply a discussion between two people to sort through confusing feelings or situations. It’s nothing fancy. This is a time for you to vent out your frustrations, stress, and anxiety. Talk about your real feelings and emotions without holding them back, and you’ll find it’s beneficial to ease how heavy you feel.

People of all backgrounds and ages face challenges every single day, including the therapists themselves, so they understand what you’re going through. A therapist is there to listen to you without offering unsolicited advice; they are there to provide insight (if you finally allow them) into what’s going on inside your head.

Simply put, a therapist is an unbiased third party you talk to once a week about your emotional state and how to lead a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Take advantage of this benefit, and you’ll see your mental health improve gradually.

  1. Convenient and affordable

Therapy that is delivered online is generally convenient and reasonably priced than physical clinics. Often you can schedule your therapy sessions at times convenient for you since you will be attending therapy sessions online from the comfort of your home or your dorm if you live on-campus.

Today, almost every state requires insurance providers to cover online therapy, just like traditional treatment, which is good news. Find out whether your insurance policy covers e-therapy treatments so you can take advantage of this for free.

Renting office space is probably less of an overhead cost for therapists who exclusively treat patients online. Patients without health insurance can, therefore, turn to online therapists for affordable treatment options.

  1. You can improve your academic performance

Conversely, as your mental health improves, your focus and productivity increase as well. Your therapist can help you declutter your brain, allowing you to focus better on the critical things. Therapy does not consist of analyzing what you cannot comprehend; instead, it consists of learning to deal with and accept difficulties in life. Sometimes overthinking will only result in you getting more frustrated, so let your therapist help you get through with the things you can’t change as you learn to accept them.

The key to this is to encourage yourself, emphasize the good things that happen, and give yourself a pep talk so that your brain can adapt to tasks that can be accomplished. These tricks will hopefully help you increase your productivity when you finally visit a therapist.

  1. Accessible treatment

A mental health treatment can be accessed more quickly through the Internet. There are times when people feel comfortable talking about physical health care issues with friends and family, but not so much about mental health issues. They may feel it’s too personal or private, so it holds them back and keeps these pent-up negativities among themselves. The stigma typically associated with mental illness can easily be overcome with treatments that are accessible online. Thanks to teletherapy, people are slowly accepting the gravity of this mental issue and that it’s not something someone should shy away from.

The benefit of teletherapy is that it can help people learn more about mental health. Even though you may feel as if you have a healthy mental well-being, online therapy can help you improve your psychological strength. It is possible to develop healthier lifestyles and coping strategies that will result in better mental health.

  1. Improves your mood

Having better self-esteem is the purpose of therapy. Therapy can indeed help individuals struggling with severe mental challenges, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and other serious mental issues. However, you can still receive much-needed support through therapy even if you don’t fit into one of these categories. If you’re a person who wants to let off some steam after a very antagonizing day, you can do so and book a session with your therapist, who can listen and provide helpful advice.

Getting therapy is not only beneficial to people with clinical mental illnesses; it can also be helpful if you go sooner rather than later before you hit a rough patch in your life. Although some people feel like it’s similar to talking to a friend about your problems, the reality is it’s not. Your friends won’t be offering genuine advice that therapists would, nor would they know how to handle your mental condition, especially if you’re carrying heavy loads of stress. Once you’ve been in therapy for a couple of weeks, you’ll slowly commend yourself for taking this leap. 

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How to Prioritize Your Mental Health

College students need to be aware of the symptoms of common illnesses, such as anxiety or depression. You can’t live everyday life without good mental health. Consider these tips to help you focus more on taking care of your mental health:

  1. Consult a therapist.

Talk to a counselor. Whether you’re comfortable talking to a therapist face to face, or you’re better off enrolling in online therapy sessions, take action to feed your mind with positive thoughts. It’s time to get out of your mental state and seek help if you feel like your situation is just worsening. Comprehensive mental health services are available in many schools, including group and individual counseling and wellness coaching. 

  1. Get enough sleep.

An experiment found that suffering from poor sleep for three days could result in stress, tiredness, anxiety, and frustrations. To avoid these, follow these tips:

  • Wake up early and be an early bird. When you get sunshine in the morning, it will benefit your natural circadian rhythm, allowing you to sleep better at night. 
  • Use an app to remind you of bedtime.
  • Exercises like progressive muscle relaxation can help you wind down before bed.
  • Try to follow the same sleeping pattern every day with at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
  1. Spend time with your friends.

Social time with friends boosts your mood and even gives you a better outlook on life. Nothing feels better than having genuine friends to talk to in times of need! When you build a strong connection with them, they might even lend their thoughts and advice if you’re facing some problems. 

Spending time with your peers also allows you to enjoy and live in the moment. Relish the present and forget all about your worries. There are so many activities and things to enjoy with your peers, so grab this opportunity, and stop moping around by yourself.

  1. Always think positively.

People typically classify themselves as optimists or pessimists, but anyone can become more optimistic if they prefer to be. This is something we do habitually, just as we do exercises and brush our teeth. Positive thinking is contagious, so when choosing a support system, choose those optimistic about the future. 

  1. Exercise and move your body.

The well-known benefits of exercise are improved mood and clarity of thought. Several 45-minute sessions a week are recommended; cycling, team sports, and aerobic/gym activities are particularly effective.

Consider using your campus recreation center to find out your ideal workout routine, which may include intramural sports, a group fitness class, or outdoor excursions. You can also choose to DIY at home, with a yoga mat and some online video tutorials. 

ALSO READ: The 7 Best Online Telehealth Doctors for College in 2021

Best Online Mental Health Counseling Services

Talk Space

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More than a million individuals have been helped by Talkspace since the company started in 2012. Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, is their spokeswoman and explains how he became stronger through therapy. You’ve got nothing to lose when you try this online therapy, so it’s best to see if it can help your mental condition get better.

Here’s how you can start:

  • A questionnaire will be required to fill out as part of the signup process. 
  • A matching algorithm will then present you with three or four potential therapists, and you can pick the one you prefer. 
  • As soon as a therapist is matched with you, you will work with him/her throughout the treatment process, but you can request to have them changed if you wish.

Many licensed therapists have undergone thorough vetting and extensive evaluation before being licensed to practice. So rest assured, you’ll be dealing with the most professional therapists there are. There are many specializations among therapists, including anxiety, depression, addiction, sleep problems, trauma, LGBTQ issues, and veteran-related issues. Should you wish to tackle specific issues, you can customize accordingly.

You are likely to find a therapist who has the skills to assist you with almost any issue, given the wide variety of therapists available. They incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and psychodynamic therapy into their treatment approaches.

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Teenagers have access to a licensed, accredited, and experienced network of counselors on this online platform that’s specifically designed for them. They can support teens with a wide variety of issues, such as depression, anxiety, bullying, traumatic experiences, and more. If you’re a teen struggling with such issues, feel free to try this teletherapy. Professionalism and quality are the same as what one would expect from a traditional counselor. Computers, tablets, and smartphones can all access the service online, so it’s pretty convenient.

It’s a pretty straightforward process if you want to begin your sessions. An online questionnaire allows you to match with a counselor based on your therapy needs. Parents and teens will have separate, private sessions. As a parent, you can easily register on the site and find a therapist to work with. After which, you can then add your child through an invitation code or email provided by the app. You can work with the counselor you have been assigned as long as you like, but if you want to have them replaced, you can file a request for that. 

You’re likely to engage with your therapists using four ways of communication: 

  • Via live chatting
  • Via text messaging
  • Via phone calls
  • Via online video conferencing

The counseling service is billed every four weeks and costs approximately $60 to $80 per session. You can choose to suspend your membership at any time, so you don’t commit to anything financially. To date, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover the services on this site. However, the services of other health insurance companies may still be covered, but you have to verify and ask about that. If you are thinking about adding the subscription, make sure you check with your provider first. 

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Pride Counseling

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Individuals in the LGBTQ community are offered online therapy through Pride Counseling, and the company’s goal is to provide confidential, thorough, and affordable treatment. Counselors at this organization are prepared to help with several mental health concerns, such as depression or problems unique or related to LGBTQ people. 

Many counselors have training in specific areas, such as anxiety, stress, relationships, bullying, sleeping, parenting, depression, grief, trauma, spirituality, self-esteem, and eating. As well as being certified psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, or professional counselors (all with a doctorate), Pride Counseling’s counselors are also experts on issues related to LGBTQ communities.

A counselor will typically be assigned to you within 24 to 48 hours. A text chat will be open with the counselor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will not always reply to your texts instantly, but you can contact them whenever you prefer. It is also possible to schedule live sessions in advance. Even though their services do their best to match you with someone you’ll click with, you are free to switch to another counselor if you prefer.

There are four ways to engage and communicate with your therapists, and these are:

  • Messaging in a secure and private platform
  • Real-time chat
  • Calling each other
  • Video conferencing

Confidentiality and privacy are essential to Pride Counseling. You can communicate with your counselor by using a nickname if you don’t want to disclose your real name. A weekly fee of $90 to $120 is charged, and you will have to settle them monthly. However, there will be no financial obligations for you since you can unsubscribe anytime.

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Online-Therapy.com

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As a provider of online-based emotional support, Online-Therapy.com is composed of a team of counselors who offer support to those needing it. The company uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a psychotherapeutic approach for treating mental health issues. If you’re on board with this approach, it’s recommended that you enroll in this online therapy platform. 

As a member of their online therapy program, you’ll have full access to it. Identifying and overcoming your issues can be accomplished through the information and tools provided in their interface. By subscribing, you will be able to contact your therapist Monday through Friday. As well as a daily journal and activity plan, you will also receive yoga and meditation videos, as well as tests that can help you monitor your progress. It’s effective in improving your overall health.

Subscribers with the premium subscriptions benefit from unlimited live sessions with their therapists twice a week, lasting 30 minutes each. Live sessions can be viewed or heard and conducted via text, voice, or video chat. Basic subscription plans start at $32 per week. They don’t accept insurance, but they will give you 20% off your first month, and that’s pretty good enough. Depending on your needs, you can also upgrade or cancel your subscription.

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7 Cups of Tea

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Most sites do not offer you the chance to speak with trained listeners free of charge, but 7 Cups of Tea does. For those looking for emotional support but unable to afford counseling or unsure whether to seek a therapist, you can chat online with a trained volunteer. It is anonymous, which is the best part. You don’t need to use a real name basis when speaking to each other.

Various groups and chat rooms also address specific issues, such as depression, anxiety, relationships, and LGBTQ+. Also unique to 7 Cups of Tea is a listener option for teens between 13 and 17. These age groups usually felt like they couldn’t have an avenue to express their real emotions, so this is particularly helpful for them. If you are looking for more support, you can also access teen forums and chat rooms.

However, to give you more options, licensed therapists could also be hired if you prefer to speak to one. Your therapist arranges for you to talk to him/her through a chat room whenever you like. Once the two of you establish a routine, your therapist may reply to your messages from time to time.

This app works on desktop and mobile devices. Their measures ensure the confidentiality and anonymity of your conversations. If you’re up for it, their subscription with licensed therapists starts at $150 monthly.

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Better Help

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Unlike some telemedicine companies that offer counseling and therapy as part of their service offerings, BetterHelp provides only teletherapy, focusing exclusively on improving mental health care for its customers. Separate counseling service for teens is also offered in addition to individual and couple counseling options.

BetterHelp employs over 3,100 therapists who are all full-time, licensed, and accredited practitioners. Before they became part of the team, they underwent an extensive vetting process. This helps ensure the service’s professionalism and knowledge are high, thus ensuring the highest level of patient care. You can rest easy knowing you keep your mental health always in check!

Among the advantages that BetterHelp offers its clients is its flexibility. Other services match patients with therapists using questionnaires and algorithms, but BetterHelp allows them to choose the therapist they’d like to work with. This is an excellent advantage for those who want to research and find out more about their therapists before starting a session with them.

Using the counselor search engine, members can search for counselors based on specific criteria such as gender, age, race, type of therapy practiced, and more. Matching patients with the best therapist for their mental health begins with making both individuals feel comfortable with one another. Users can access the BetterHelp services through phone calls, video chats, and messaging apps. Each member pays a flat fee of $60 to $80 for unlimited therapy sessions each week.

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iCounseling

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If you want to connect with your therapist in an unlimited number of ways, you can use iCounseling. An assessment of the client’s mental state is the first thing the company seeks to do. A therapist will be assigned to you from a pool of 4,000 who have been checked and approved. Based on your gender, age, and overall happiness, the algorithm chooses the therapist most appropriate to your needs.

When you’re paired, you’ll have access to your therapist via text message, chat, phone, or video conference. Plus, phone calls and video chats don’t have time limits, making them perfect for working through complicated issues. With a fixed fee of $60 to $80 per week, you can gain unlimited access to your counselor who are highly qualified and who passed state and local licensure requirements. However, keep in mind that insurance plans do not usually cover this service.

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References:

https://www.onlinemedicalservices.org/best-mental-health-therapy-services-online/
https://www.verywellmind.com/best-online-therapy-4691206
https://www.center4research.org/does-online-therapy-work/
https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/online-therapist-for-free#what-is-online-therapy
https://www.insider.com/best-online-therapy#for-all-around-support-1
https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/online-therapy-for-teens#how-we-chose
https://www.healthline.com/health/our-top-10-online-therapy-picks#largest-network