Three college kids sitting on a lawn with laptops and notebooks.

The top concern of college students is not academics, inflation or even mass shootings – it’s their own mental health. 

The top concern of college students is not academics, inflation or even mass shootings – it’s their own mental health. 

In a recent nationwide survey of nearly 1,200 college students by TimelyMD, the leading health and well-being provider in higher education, nearly seven out of 10 students (69%) reported experiencing mental health issues such as stress, anxiety or depression. The overwhelming majority (86%) said their current level of stress and/or anxiety is the same as or greater than this time last year.

Between nationwide provider shortages and long wait times for appointments that put both students and schools at risk, college and university leaders recognize they can no longer meet all of a student’s health and well-being needs on campus. In a recent survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education and P3·EDU, college administrators said telehealth/mental health services are the No. 1 thing they are interested in outsourcing. As campus leaders seek solutions that improve student well-being, engagement, and retention, they turn to TimelyMD more than anyone else to help their students be well and thrive. 

How can college students benefit from mental health support?

The number one reason students leave college is for mental health reasons. According to a recent report from Gallup and The Lumina Foundation, three-fourths of students in bachelor's programs and two-thirds of adults seeking associate degrees who considered taking a break from college last fall cited emotional stress.

Founded in 2017, TimelyMD is the only virtual health and well-being provider focused exclusively on higher education that is trusted to serve more than a million students at more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide. Demand has surged ever since, and especially in the years since the pandemic. 

“If mental health was a fire, COVID was the gasoline…however, COVID is no longer the primary accelerant,” Dr. Rufus Tony Spann, Executive Director of Mental Health at TimelyMD, recently told Diverse Issues in Higher Education

In fact, nine out of 10 students say their campus is experiencing a full-blown mental health crisis. TimelyMD delivers high-quality care and peace of mind by increasing convenience, staff capacity, and provider diversity and eliminating barriers such as insurance, co-pays, and long wait times – and demand among students has never been greater. About 80% of TimelyCare visits have been for mental health support this year (vs. 10% pre-pandemic). 

Ultimately, a team-based approach to care is most effective in helping students’ mental health. While the top three reasons students seek mental health support through TimelyCare are anxiety, general stress, and depression, TimelyMD providers also treat suicidal students every day in accordance with established campus protocols that outline effective care coordination, local resources, care follow-up requirements, and triage processes. Through shared care summaries, EMR integrations, and referrals, TimelyMD ensures each student gets the right care when and where they need it.

Tell us more about how TimelyCare services are expanding access for college students. 

TimelyCare saves lives and improves student health by eliminating barriers and ensuring equitable, on-demand access to care – anytime, anywhere, free and fast. As a result, students have access to: 

  • Convenient 24/7 care – Physical and mental health issues often present themselves outside regular business hours, and TimelyCare makes seeking support or treatment as easy and convenient as making a video or phone call. More than 40% of mental health visits occurred after regular business hours, underscoring the need for on-demand support. 
  • No-cost visits – An urgent care visit may cost around $150, and an ER visit for preventable primary care conditions may cost upwards of $2,000. Students never need health insurance, and they never incur costs for a TimelyCare provider visit.
  • Reduced wait times – Campus counseling centers often have a 2-3 week wait time for appointments, whereas students using TalkNow can typically connect with a TimelyMD provider in less than 5 minutes.
  • Diverse provider network – In addition to being from diverse backgrounds, TimelyMD providers are trained to be culturally competent. For example, more than 60% of mental health providers identify as BIPOC. The platform also offers professionals who identify as LGBTQIA+, speak multiple languages, and/or have various religious and spiritual beliefs. Students can choose to meet with a specific provider or select the first available. 
  • Peace of mind – TimelyCare is a safe, secure, and HIPAA-compliant platform that follows campus-specific protocols to facilitate care coordination and follow-up to ensure continuity of care. Integrations with leading learning management systems ensure students have what University Business called “a groundbreaking way to get students connected to care.”

How will TimelyMD continue to innovate to meet students’ evolving needs?

Inc. Magazine listed TimelyMD among the 10 fastest-growing health services companies in the country –  recognition that validates the ongoing urgency of the company’s mission to improve college students’ physical and mental health through virtual care. Every decision the company makes is guided by its core values of passionate people, accountability, innovation, growth, quality of service, and positive impact.  

“The key to our success is a laser-like focus on helping students be well and thrive. We are immensely grateful for the college and university leaders who trust us to care for their campuses and our team that makes exceptional care a reality,” said Luke Hejl, TimelyMD CEO and co-founder. “We don’t just want students to feel better, we want them to be well. TimelyCare allows colleges and universities to solve problems rather than just treat symptoms.”

The TimelyCare platform includes a range of services, including mental health counseling, on-demand emotional support, medical care, psychiatric care, health coaching, basic needs assistance, faculty and staff guidance, and digital self-care content. 

This fall, TimelyMD is adding a new peer support community to the TimelyCare platform to empower students to safely connect with and encourage each other. According to a recent survey, peer support tops the list of ways students plan to cope with their stress and anxiety this semester, and TimelyMD designed this judgment-free space with safety and security in mind. As EdScoop recently reported: “Students can’t contact each other directly, and their identities are anonymized so that only their initials are displayed on profiles. Identifying information in posts is also be flagged and removed by TimelyMD’s AI or content moderators.”

Considering the nation’s economic future and global competitiveness are directly linked to the health and well-being of college students today, a partnership with TimelyMD has proven to be an investment in healthier students.

“Whether we’re treating one student or one million students, the need for 24/7 access to high-quality care has never been more important or a higher priority,” said Dr. Bob Booth, Chief Care Officer at TimelyMD. “Through the combination of equitable access to care, best-in-class clinical providers, and preventative self-care strategies, TimelyMD is changing the culture of  sick-care into a model of virtual health care that has a lasting impact, one student at a time.”