Before COVID-19 came to campus, mental health treatment was an in-person affair. Fewer than 8% of colleges offered telephone therapy in 2019, and only 3% offered video, a survey of campus counseling center directors worldwide showed.

But when the coronavirus forced classes nationwide to go online in March 2020, it did the same to campus counseling.

At first, the shift was challenging. State licensing requirements made it difficult for colleges to treat out-of-state students, while some students lacked the privacy or technology to attend counseling remotely. Some students and counselors also found the online format awkward.
But now, more than a year into a pandemic that has upended much of higher education, college administrators say they've come to see the advantages of online counseling and plan to preserve it as an option post-pandemic.

"It's allowed us to reach a different population," said Brian Mitra, dean of student affairs at Kingsborough Community College, in Brooklyn, New York. The school's shift to virtual counseling, along with expanded evening hours, has enabled students who aren't comfortable meeting with a therapist in person or who work during the daytime to meet with counselors online, he said.

The global health crisis is reshaping campus mental healthcare in other ways, too. With many students still studying remotely, colleges have had to rely on faculty to recognize and respond to signs of student mental distress. To better prepare them for this role, many colleges have added or expanded training to help faculty members identify students who are struggling and connect them with counselors.

Read the full article about college mental health counseling by Kelly Field at Higher Education Dive.