Bucknell University is partnering with Togetherall, a leading online mental health service, to offer students free, 24/7 online peer-to-peer support. The partnership is an extension of the University's existing relationship with ProtoCall Services, which provides after-hours counseling center coverage. Togetherall provides a clinically moderated peer-to-peer mental health community that empowers individuals to safely, anonymously seek and provide support.
Through its leadership and financial support, Bucknell Student Government (BSG) was instrumental in bringing Togetherall to campus. Student leaders were drawn to Togetherall's platform for its peer-to-peer connectivity and safety nets, which include the ability to directly transfer a student to the on-call counselor when urgent risk is identified.
BSG leaders value the size, depth and breadth of the community, which creates a diverse, inclusive experience that fosters participants' ability to normalize their feelings. Students will be able to connect with others who are experiencing similar struggles and support one another through their shared lived experiences with stress, anxiety, isolation and other common mental health challenges.
"We are not strangers to the epidemic of college stress, but compounded with the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate of mental health on campus was deteriorating. BSG wishes to act as advocates for students, including for their mental health, which is why we partnered with the Counseling & Student Development Center to bring Togetherall to campus," says Madison Scopano '22, president of BSG. "Togetherall serves as a first step to improving one's mental wellbeing by allowing students to anonymously connect with others online and talk about their mental health, as well as utilize the program's online resources: journaling, self-directed courses, self-assessments and more."
Bucknell was considering bringing Togetherall into its mental health program even before COVID-19, says Kelly Kettlewell, director of the Counseling & Student Development Center (CSDC), but the process was expedited by the pandemic and other current events that have affected students.
Togetherall went live to students on Friday, April 2.
"Our Counseling & Student Development Center services are designed to help students grow in self-understanding — and we understand that there's no one-size-fits-all solution to student mental health," Kettlewell says. "We are hopeful that by adding Togetherall to our toolkit, we will meet the mental and emotional needs of even more Bucknell students by opening a door to an entire community of peers they can relate to on a deeper level."
"Even as schools allow for more face-to-face classes, the impact of this 'new normal' is going to have long-lasting effects on student mental health," says Matthew McEvoy, senior vice president and general manager of Togetherall in North America. "One of the advantages of the Togetherall platform is that no matter where students are or what challenges life throws at them, this community will always be just a couple of clicks away. There's something incredibly powerful about knowing you're never alone because you have this network of peers right in your pocket at all times."
Worldwide, Togetherall provides service to more than 200 post-secondary institutions and a population of more than 2 million students. In a recent survey of Togetherall members, nearly 80% of students indicated that their main reason for joining was feelings of depression, and 70% cited feelings of anxiety. Nearly 50% of students surveyed said they do not have regular contact with a healthcare provider for the issues that led them to seek support.
To access the service, Bucknell students can go to the mobile-responsive webpage togetherall.com and enter their academic email address to register.