Open Call and Open Chat features make accessing mental health resources easier for students
Over the past year and then some, Arizona State University has showed great resilience in the face of the pandemic, swiftly pivoting to new technologies and modes of learning to ensure its students’ continued access to excellent education. But sometimes — and perhaps especially during times of great change and upheaval — students need access to more than just academic services.
After first taking the plunge into offering remote appointments in March 2020, ASU Counseling Services is now available to any student, anywhere in the world, at any time, day or night.
“Even before the pandemic, ASU functioned in a 24/7, 365 global environment. Over time, we have transitioned academically to be more responsive to that,” said Aaron Krasnow, associate vice president of ASU Health Services. “And now we have to make sure our services are equally as responsive. We can't have environments that are lagging behind the student experience that they signed up for.”
ASU Counseling Services’ expansion to a 24/7, 365-days-a-year global service is thanks to the addition of Open Call and Open Chat. While students are still welcome to drop into any of the physical locations during regular business hours for same-day services, Open Call and Open Chat function as additional options to access the same level of care and expertise, wherever and whenever they need it.
Available in six languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Spanish, Open Call and Open Chat can be accessed through the MySSP @ASU website, by downloading the MySSP app or by calling 877-258-7429. ASU Counseling Services and MySSP are connected in an intentional, ongoing way to ensure students have streamlined and coordinated services, whether they are accessing care in-person or remotely.
“We've always had same-day availability, but there’s been a big increase in students who were saying, ‘I just need to talk right now,’” said Erin Trujillo, director of ASU Counseling Services. “So now we have the ability to stand up a sort of fast, casual, yet informative and confidential communication with a mental health professional for them.”
Student feedback played a big role in the design of the new services, with input from the student health and counseling advisory committee, conversations with student organizations like Devils 4 Devils and ongoing satisfaction surveys.
“All of that creates this ongoing feedback experience so that student priorities are out in front of our design, so that it's consistent with their feedback, as opposed to us designing it and then seeing what they think,” Krasnow said.
Though the new Open Chat and Open Call services are designed with ease and speed of access in mind, they’re different from crisis services.
“A crisis is an acute situation where, for example, someone may be feeling suicidal,” Krasnow said. “These services are intended for situations that aren’t crises, but when you still want to talk to someone at a moment’s notice.”
Open Chat and Open Call are also different from 360 Life Services, the free, 24/7 counseling and crisis intervention support service available specifically to ASU Online students.
“360 Life Services is a fantastic existing service for ASU Online students,” Krasnow said. “We think of Open Call and Open Chat as an extension of the physical counseling center itself; for students who are used to an immersive experience, it’s an extension of that environment.”
In the first month since Open Call and Open Chat have been available, Trujillo said all manner of college students, from age 16 to 66, have used the services.
“So we've already identified that college students at every stage of their academic career – undergraduates and graduates, all age groups – find this to be a helpful resource,” she said.
To learn more about all that ASU Counseling Services has to offer, visit the “Where to Start” page on their website.
Top photo courtesy of Pixabay