Salisbury University to offer 24/7 digital mental health support

SALISBURY, Md. – With students under a different strain and learning a different model, Salisbury University’s counseling center is now offering digital mental health resources to the entire university population.

The university partnered with TAO Connect, a digital platform designed to make behavioral health therapy more accessible and effective.

The resources include TAO’s Therapist-Assisted feature, allowing counselors to individually assign online-based sessions to students as a way to enhance virtual appointments, and the Self-Help feature, which is a completely personalized and self-guided experience through the TAO Connect platform.

Additionally, Salisbury University will use TAO Connect’s secure video conferencing technology for virtual sessions. The counseling center also will use the “group room feature,” which will provide an alternate way to hold virtual and in-person campus group sessions, allowing clinicians to meet with up to 100 users at a time.

“This year has brought challenges, obstacles and circumstances that have significantly disrupted the lives of students and impacted their mental health,” Dr. Sherry Benton, founder and chief science officer of TAO Connect said in a prepared statement. “By partnering with us and providing 24/7 access to digital mental health tools, Salisbury University is taking the right step to support the mental health of its students and greater community.”

TAO Connect recently launched its V3 platform, which contains more than 150 interactive sessions on anxiety, depression, substance abuse, anger, sexual violence and more. Additionally, the platform offers a library of mindfulness exercises and journal prompts – which include an anxiety monitoring log and a relaxation and mindfulness log. The platform also features The TAO Assistant, an AI chatbot that guides students through the platform for a personalized experience specific to their needs.

“When the pandemic began, we had to abruptly halt in-person sessions and find a new way to provide services to our students. We found that TAO Connect not only offers video conferencing capabilities that are both secure and private, but also provides a comprehensive and evidence-driven digital mental health platform,” Dr. Lilian Odera, clinical psychologist and director of the Salisbury University Counseling Center said in a prepared statement. “TAO Connect is a welcome addition to our Counseling Center this fall and something we believe will make a difference in the lives of members of the SU community.”

In addition to TAO Connect, the counseling center at Salisbury University added additional virtual initiatives to provide quality mental health services, outreach and consultation to the community. One initiative includes virtual meditation services to students every day of the week. Each program, which is facilitated by a counseling center staff member, runs for an hour each week for six weeks.

Also, the counseling center recently began offering support groups to support students of different identities as well as students dealing with a variety of stressors. These groups include Sister Circle (women of color), Brother’s Keeper (men of color), BeYou (LGBTQ students), Crossing Borders (International students and first-generation immigrant students), Mind, Body & Sport (student athletes), and Coping with COVID (all students needing support during the pandemic).

TAO Connect is available for free to all Salisbury University students, faculty and staff. Students can register for TAO by visiting the Counseling Center website. To learn more about TAO and its technology, please visit www.TAOConnect.org.