Online mental, medical support is improving

By Victor Dixon, Editor-in-Chief

The Newman community should be seeing some improvements with Virtual Care Group, a service offered through Newman’s Student Government Association that is free to all undergraduate students and is also available to graduate students and Newman employees for a small fee.

Among the recent upgrades to the service: Users should see shorter wait times when reaching out and can now schedule appointments at local practices through the site.

VCG offers virtual counseling and telehealth so that users can access those resources even if they don’t have health insurance or face a language barrier.

“The biggest thing I want to mention is the 200 plus languages,” said Mental Health Project Coordinator Anna Waggoner. “Maybe you feel more comfortable having a counseling session in your native language. You don’t have to search for words. You can think more clearly.”

During SGA’s Feb. 27 meeting, Dean of Students Andi Giesen cited some improvements that were recently made to the program, including a faster response time and the ability to schedule in-person counseling appointments with local providers.

The important thing is that users set their profiles up as soon as possible so that they can access help as soon as they need it, instead of facing unnecessary wait time for setting it up, Giesen said. 

“We do have an in-person face-to-face counselor available to us on campus one day a week. That person is very busy, and it’s difficult for students to schedule one-on-one time with that counselor if they need it,” Giesen said. “The virtual option opens up the opportunity all week long, 24/7, for there to be some type of service available.”

There are flyers in the Student Life office with QR codes that direct students to download the VCG app. Student ambassador Alex Schreiner’s job exists for the sole purpose of helping students set up their VCG profiles.

“It doesn’t matter how, never be afraid to seek support. You don’t have to do things alone,” Waggoner said. “We’re here for you. Just use your resources.”

PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Unsplash