Western Michigan University launches 24/7 year-round mental health support for students

Contact: Erin Flynn

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University is taking its well-being support to the next level, offering a new platform to give students free, immediate access to teletherapy services in partnership with Uwill. The program meets students where they are—allowing them to access support any time of day, any day of the week—and tailors the experience to the individual based on their unique needs and preferences.

"Student well-being in all its dimensions is our top priority at Western," says WMU President Edward Montgomery. "Asking for help is a sign of wisdom and nothing could be more appropriate in a learning environment. We are here to support students so they can be their best selves."

Western launched the partnership in response to a need identified by students, faculty and staff for after-hours access to mental health professionals for health crises and other concerns. The service is also available to enrolled students no matter their location—whether a student is on campus, working remotely or studying abroad.

“We know many college students struggle with their mental health. A study recently reported by the Mayo Clinic found that 1 in 3 students experienced significant depression and anxiety. This study reflects a larger body of research that points to considerable need in this population,” says Dr. Reetha Raveendran, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

“At Western, we’re pleased to offer an additional support that helps address that need and, very importantly, is directly responsive to what our students have asked for.”

Access to help is quick and easy with Uwill. Enrolled students can register and create a profile to find personalized support based on availability, issue, gender, language, ethnicity and other preferences and schedule an appointment with a licensed counselor of their choosing. Many students have their first session within hours of completing their profile. A mental health crisis hotline also is available for students in immediate need.

"Uwill, along with on-campus resources, provides an additional access point for students to explore wellness strategies to help better cope during difficult times. As a result, students should experience greater satisfaction with their lives and a greater level of success," says Dr. Brian Fuller, director of Counseling Services at Sindecuse Health Center.

All enrolled Western students have access to three initial 30-minute sessions and can request two additional appointments. After a total of five sessions, WMU mental health staff will work with students to explore options going forward.

Uwill supplements Western's robust array of well-being resources for students, which also includes:

  • YOU at Western: A personalized portal connecting students to online tools and campus resources to allow them to be more proactive with their health and well-being.

  • WellTrack: An interactive self-help app to track personal well-being and access resources tailored to address symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.

  • Sindecuse Health Center: Western's on-campus health center offers convenient, cost-saving services with an experienced, multidisciplinary staff dedicated to maintaining and improving student health. 

  • Counseling Services: Sindecuse Health Center offers short-term individual, couples and group counseling for a diverse student population.

  • Office of Health Promotion and Education: Students can engage with health educators and nationally certified peer educators to create a healthy, safe, inclusive environment and campus culture that supports well-being and social justice.

  • Mind Spa: A space designed to help Western Michigan University students develop and practice relaxation skills that will enhance their academic productivity and their sense of well-being.

  • Student Recreation Center: A state-of-the-art fitness facility where students can stay fit and recharge as well as participate in group fitness classes and wellness programming.

"It is important to focus on your mental, emotional and physical health; focusing on just one could negatively impact another. At Western, we strive to give students the tools and resources they need to thrive—academically, personally and professionally," Fuller says.

Learn more about the platform online.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.