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Exploring the Relationship Between Client Risk Factors and Telehealth Services in College Counseling Centers

In March 2020, college counseling centers, along with many other healthcare facilities across the United States, encountered the unprecedented challenge of rapidly transitioning to tele-services in response to COVID-19. To accomplish this feat, counseling centers promptly transformed their in-person care to tele-services in a matter of days/weeks. While most college counseling centers continue to provide telehealth during the 2020-2021 academic year, many questions have emerged regarding the sustained utilization of tele-services within college counseling centers in the future. Some of the most common questions include: (a) will tele-services, at least in some capacity, become a permanent part of counseling center services?; (b) will some colleges/universities delegate a portion of traditional in-person counseling services to external telehealth vendors?; and (c) given tele-services are the most prominent current mode of treatment, what proportion of students seeking counseling center services possess risk factors that make them a poor fit for tele-services?

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COVID Impact on College Student Mental Health

COVID-19 has resulted in widespread concern about college-student’s mental health – both during the spring of 2020 and forecasting into the future. Recent surveys of college students have suggested that that college students’ psychological distress increased significantly following the COVID-19 response and shutdowns in March 2020. Because CCMH continuously pools national data from students seeking mental health services at college counseling centers, we were curious to see if our data support this hypothesis.

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