By Darlene Leal
In the middle of dealing with classes, work and finances, students tend to forget about their own mental health.
Modern Therapy wants to bring the focus back on the mental health of college students. Cassie Christensen, the co-founder of Modern Therapy, said there is a stigma around receiving help.
“We are in the midst of a mental health crisis and getting people the care that they need has been historically difficult. The further my career went in mental health, the more I saw the stigma surrounding therapy,” Christensen said.
Modern Therapy will help remove that stigma by creating a virtual and comfortable environment between the patient and therapist. Christensen said the wait in the lobby can make people uncomfortable from the fear of seeing someone they know.
She acknowledged both financial struggles and busy schedules interfering with the ability to get that help, so in order to receive that help Modern Therapy offers packages that resemble gym memberships.
The first package allows the student to text and email their therapist throughout the weekdays, and as much as needed. The therapist will usually respond two to three times a day. The client is free to reach out as much as needed.
The second package has unlimited text messages and emails, along with phone and video calls. This gives the client the ability to have one on one face interaction with their therapist, if wanted.
Modern Therapy does not take health insurance, but both programs range between $25 to $50 dollars a week. They personalize every client with a therapist that can be reached via email and phone calls. Modern Therapy tries to accommodate everyone with someone they can build that trust with.
Outreach coordinator Leila Ellis-Nelson and clinical assistant professor Bibiana Adames both saw the possibilities with a program like Modern Therapy. However, they also said there is limitations with virtual therapy.
Ellis-Nelson said that Modern Therapy is a better option for those with milder conditions, such as academic issues and stress management versus coping with loss and suicidal thoughts.
“The downside is that clinicians are people too, and things come up during their day, so if they miss a text or a call that could be the big difference between life and death for some clients, or the difference between a client getting their needs met,” Ellis-Nelson said.
Ellis-Nelson said it is important to meet with a therapist in person. She said that it creates a sense of trust and helps build a more personal relationship. Ellis-Nelson said that a person cannot read body language, tone and context through emails and text messages.
Ellis-Nelson and Adames both agreed that the cost is very convenient for students along with the ease of being able to access these therapist via email and text messages.
Adames said there will be an issue of dependency versus growth and building coping skills.
“However, if the goal of therapy is to help people build sustaining coping skills to be self-sufficient in managing their distress and life circumstances, then a service like this one doesn’t serve this purpose,” Adames said.
Whether Modern Therapy works it is to be determined by the students of RU, individually. It has a convenience and financial aspect that is great for college students.