For students looking to improve their mental health, the USD Student Counseling Center (SCC) is introducing a new resource.
Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) is an online self-help platform for mental health related issues. The SCC was able to secure funds to create this platform since the state of South Dakota established grant funds for accredited agencies throughout the ongoing pandemic.
Debra Robertson, director of the SCC, said TAO is something USD has been interested in offering to students for quite some time.
“This provides an opportunity for individuals to seek support on their own and at their own pace,” Robertson said. “We know an increased number of students and staff are experiencing abnormal levels of grief, loss, fear and overall distress and we want as many resources available as possible.”
TAO, Robertson said, will serve as a self-help option for students who would rather improve their mental health independently rather than seeking help from a counselor or therapist. Additionally, it will be means of supplemental training and counseling for professional staff to assist students on the waitlist.
Robertson also said TAO has a HIPAA compliant telehealth component, which offers confidential telehealth sessions when a student chooses the remote option.
“TAO is based on evidenced-based practice modules that can assist student with mindfulness, meditation, anxiety, depression and many other issues students may face including anger and relationships,” Robertson said.
TAO has already launched on the SCC website and students, faculty and staff can register at [email protected].
Robertson said she hopes TAO proves to be a useful tool for the USD community.
“Not everyone chooses to go to counseling or talk to those around them when they are in distress.” Robertson said. “It’s especially important to have a platform like this available now because there are increased stressors in our communities that are directly affecting student, faculty, and staff wellbeing.”