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Online Mountaineer: Inside the Online Classroom

Invest Time In Your Mental Health

November 4, 2021

Mental Health Graphic, woman watering a flower representing the mind.

If you're feeling depressed, anxious, or just need to talk to someone, it can be hard to know what to do. How can you get help? Where do you get help? What questions do you ask?

More people are deciding to invest time in their well-being. Because there is a high demand and many places have waiting lists, it can be difficult accessing services.

If you are in this situation, there are many resources available to you through WVU Online.

To take advantage of these resources, all you have to do is reach out. Someone will be there to help you find your way.

Talkspace – 24/7 Mental Health Help

Talkspace is WVU's new online mental health service that is free for all students, including WVU Online students and those attending WVU Institute of Technology and WVU Potomac State.

It is totally confidential and connects you to a licensed therapist in your state of residence. You can regularly message your therapist anywhere, anytime.

NOTE: Talkspace is not a crisis hotline. Anyone in crisis situation should call 9-11 to get immediate help, or contact local authorities.

According to Liz Kelly, a therapist with Talkspace, this service works a little bit differently than traditional therapy.

“Talkspace really takes a lot of the leg work out of the process. It's a very easy way to get help.”

Instead of meeting in person or calling your therapist on the phone, you will have access to two video sessions per month.

Using the Talkspace platform, you can also send your therapist multimedia messages, including texts, voice messages and photos, while in your private therapy room.

How to Sign Up

When you sign up for Talkspace, all you need to do is enter your MIX email on the WVU Talkspace website ( to verify eligibility and you can get started.

You will answer a few simple questions about yourself, which takes less than two minutes. Then you're given a choice of three different therapists.

If you prefer a therapist of a particular gender, you can specify that. You can also indicate what you’re struggling with, whether it’s anxiety, grief, depression, disordered eating – whatever the case may be. You will be able to read information about each therapist and then pick the one that you feel would be the best match for you.

After registering and creating an account, you can download and use the Talkspace HIPAA compliant app for ongoing therapy.

For online international students, or those who may not have English as a first language, Talkspace has therapists who speak 32 different languages.

After getting set up, all clients receive a 10-minute, live introductory video session to meet their therapist in real time.

This is a chance to find out what they're like and talk a little bit about what you'd like to get out of therapy.

“Different therapists have different approaches and that’s definitely something you need to ask about,” Kelly says.

“Some really great questions to ask your therapist during the intro session include: ‘What is your training? What is your approach to therapy? What sort of interventions do you use?’”

You will maintain an ongoing relationship with the same therapist and you should communicate openly about your needs, and figure out a schedule that works best for both of you.

Contacting Your Therapist

Talkspace recommends checking in with your therapist at least three times per week for the best possible outcomes.

But you can reach out to your therapist anytime you want, and at any time of day, and expect to hear back within one working day.

The more consistently you contact your therapist, the faster you will develop an open, trusting dialogue.

Talkspace therapists typically engage with students daily, five days a week, through ongoing messaging, plus two 30-minute, live video sessions each month.

Live video sessions can be conducted through the Talkspace mobile app, or through the web on a supported browser. Talkspace is optimized for Google Chrome, but it also supports other major browsers, such as Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari.

If you feel like perhaps your initial therapist isn't the right match, that's perfectly okay. You can be matched with someone else if you feel like your therapist isn’t working out.

Talkspace’s network of thousands of clinicians, credentialed in accordance with National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards, has been used by more than one million people and Kelly says 80% of students surveyed have found Talkspace to be just as effective, or more effective, than traditional therapy.

“This may be because you can send your therapist a message right away and let them know what you are going through, and you’ll get a message back quickly.”

Confidential and Secure

Talkspace is totally confidential and secure.

The platform is certified to be Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant and all communication between the Talkspace software and the servers is encrypted.

The Talkspace app requires you to enter your password and allows you to create a unique passcode for extra security. The app also supports fingerprint recognition on iOS and Android devices.

The only exception to confidentiality would be if there was ever a safety concern. But other than that, everything you talk to your therapist about is completely confidential and stays between you and your therapist.

Talkspace will not share your information with WVU or anyone else and all users create a unique nickname during the registration process, which is only shared with their therapists.

You can determine whether you want your therapist to call you by your first name or by your nickname during therapy.

How to Work with Your Therapist

“The nice thing about Talkspace is that the therapists work with clients in a few different ways,” Kelly says. “I love the live video chats. It gives me time to get to see people and actually get to know them."

“In addition to the live video sessions, I interact with my clients throughout the week to check in and see how things are going. What I like about Talkspace is that I can problem solve with my clients in the moment. They're not saving everything up for their therapy appointment. We can talk about what's going well, what’s not going so well. Sometimes it's not a long message. It's just a check-in to say ‘Hey, what's going on?’”

Don’t Wait

One thing Kelly says she wants to emphasize is that students should not wait for life to get really difficult before they participate in therapy.

“It can be helpful even if things are going pretty well. Maybe you just want to figure out how to communicate better, or improve your relationships, or get a perspective that's outside of your friends and your family. If there are some things in your life you want to work on, therapy is a great option to get some support.”

Additional Mental Health Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
If you are thinking about suicide, or worried about a loved one or friend, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ( 1-800-273-TALK) provides 24/7, free and confidential support.

Trevor Project Hotline
If you are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and are thinking about suicide, please call the Trevor Lifeline (1-866-488-7386), text START to 678678 or use TrevorChat to speak confidentially with a counselor.


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