Morneau Shepell, a leading organization in international and domestic student support, and The Jed Foundation (JED), an organization dedicated to supporting the mental health of teens and young adults, published a study examining the mental health needs of international college students and the use of technology for mental health support. The findings showed that a choice of modalities – including text/chat, after-hours access, and the ability to receive mental health support in a student’s primary language – resulted in more international students seeking and receiving support than are currently using campus counseling services, which positively impacts students’ academic success and student retention. The research was based on trends within Morneau Shepell’s student support program, My SSP.
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As part of the study, a survey of more than 500 students found that international students were reaching out for support on a range of issues including stress (25.4 percent), depression (12.9 percent), academic issues (11.2 percent), anxiety (10.3 percent), relationships (6.4 percent), social isolation (5.6 percent) and cross-cultural issues/language (2.6 percent). The study also found that 71 percent of international students agreed or strongly agreed that if My SSP were only available in English, they would not have used it.
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My SSP aims to support the wellbeing and retention of college students by complementing existing campus resources. This student support program allows institutions to expand their reach to help meet international and domestic students’ mental health needs through 24/7 chat, video, and tele-mental health support, which connects students with credentialed master’s and Ph.D.-level clinicians who speak their language and understand their unique challenges. Analysis also showed that 64 percent of international students accessed My SSP outside of their regular campus counseling centers’ office hours.
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