Student Health outsources some counseling services

Students can access UWill by visiting their MySHR account and scheduling an appointment in the Counseling and Mental Health category and selecting the UWill option. (Daily Trojan file photo)

USC students now have access to UWill, a virtual program that will provide quick access to mental health professionals, officials announced Nov. 3. 

“This is a good option for you if you would like to connect with a mental health professional within a very quick turnaround time,” the USC Student Health Counseling and Mental Health Services Team wrote in an email statement about the service. “Typically, after eligibility is confirmed, you can sign in and choose an appointment that takes place within 24-48 hours.” 

The UWill service launched Oct. 17 to ensure that students get the help they need during “high tide season” — a time of year when therapy appointments are more difficult to get, said Broderick Leaks, director of counseling and mental health at USC Student Health. 

“It really helps us when we get into the middle of the semester — where we start reaching our saturation point — to be able to partner with a company like UWill that can increase access and provide immediate care to our students who are seeking out services,” Leaks said.

Danielle Gautt, the assistant director for outreach and prevention services at Student Health, said that UWill could be useful for students who are curious about therapy, feel more comfortable receiving help from professionals outside of USC or who may not otherwise have access to immediate care.

“The beauty about those services is they’re accessible on your phone 100% remote, and you can use them when you’re not on campus,” Gautt said. “For those students who are considering entering mental health support or therapeutic services, and let’s say they’re about to go abroad, I would recommend accessing UWill as a source of support.”

To use the service, students first need to access their MySHR Portal, where they can schedule an appointment and select the category “Counseling and Mental Health.” Then, they can choose the “UWill” tab and send in their request. 

More than half of UWill’s providers identify as Black and Indigenous people and people of color, and about a quarter identify as LGBTQIA, Leaks said. 

UWill is the first of many products that USC Health officials plan to provide to students through their Therapy+ suite — a collection of applications and services curated to meet the vast array of students’ mental health needs. They also plan to add services like the Oasis app, a service that will provide psychoeducation through self-paced modules and allow students to directly message trained mental health specialists. 

“USC has undergone a pretty massive expansion of mental health care and services, … we are [now] one of the largest, if not the largest, university counseling center in the country,” Leaks said.

Gautt added that Therapy+ aims to provide “those services that students may need to really engage in wellness and wellbeing but don’t quite rise to the level of ‘I need to come in for individual intake’ or ‘I need to see a psychiatrist.’”

Rachel Lichtman, the associate director of public communications at USC Student Health, said these new programs will be rolled out in stages over the remainder of the academic school year. As for next steps, Leaks said that the goal is to try and inform the student body about these new services to provide as much access to the care they need. 

“COVID really opened up the world to more telehealth care,” Leaks said. “Just being able to access a therapist — whether it’s a USC therapist at Counseling and Mental Health Services or UWill therapist — being able to access them from home or in a place that’s convenient for you versus having to travel to the counseling center or travel to a location, I think, has just really opened up the doors and lot of access for our students.”