After reaching appointment wait times of up to six weeks in the spring, the Harvard Counseling and Mental Health Services announced it will provide new and faster telehealth services to students Wednesday afternoon.
The new telehealth services — called TimelyCare — are made in partnership with TimelyMD, a Texas-based firm that aids universities in providing students with virtual care for mental health.
“There has been a growing need for student mental health support and resources and this partnership is an important part of meeting that need,” Chief of CAMHS Barbara Lewis wrote in an email announcement sent to University affiliates.
The TimelyCare platform, which is a regular offering from TimelyMD, will come at no extra cost to students. Any student currently enrolled in a degree program at the University and covered by the student health fee can use it, per the email from Lewis.
“Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) is committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the University’s students by providing accessible, high-quality, and culturally sensitive mental health services,” Lewis wrote.
Lewis added that the mental wellbeing platform will not replace any existing CAMHS services, such as CAMHS Cares, the 24/7 support line, or group support and education sessions.
Students can access up to twelve scheduled counseling sessions per academic year for free through TimelyCare. They can also use the platform’s self-care content, which includes meditation sessions and group conversations with providers on various health-related topics.
This partnership with TimelyMD comes as Harvard is expanding its mental health and wellbeing resources in response to recommendations outlined in the 2020 final report by the task force on managing student mental health.
“The high utilization of CAMHS Cares reinforced to us the need to expand the delivery model for student mental health,” HUHS Director Giang T. Nguyen said in an interview with the Harvard Gazette. “This expansion of offerings, in adding telehealth supports, allows for flexibility in how a student responds to their mental health needs.”
In the same interview, Lewis said TimelyCare will provide “short-term, solution-focused therapy,” whereas the CAMHS Cares 24/7 line is for more rapid, “in-the-moment” care.
“In our experience, most moderate student mental health concerns can be addressed successfully in about six to eight sessions,” Nguyen said. “The fact that TimelyCare allows as many as 12 per year for each student is fantastic.”
—Staff writer Lucas J. Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.