New mental health app launched for students and faculty

Mental health services are offered through the My Student Support Program app. Students will be assisted at any time of the day.

This fall, Mississippi State University began offering mental health services through a mobile app called My Student Support Program (My SSP).

The app is a hub for students to speak with licensed counselors and seek self-help tips.

According to the My SSP website, the app is partnered with LifeWorks, a global company centered around the wellbeing of individuals. My SSP was created to support the struggles and mental challenges that students face worldwide.

My SSP’s main feature provides students with access to a mental health professional anywhere, anytime.

Students can choose to call, text or set up a video appointment with one of the counselors through the app. All communication is confidential.

The app connects the user to a licensed counselor in the state or country that the user is in. The app supports over 150 languages in more than 160 countries. There is 24/7 access to five of those languages with the option to request others.

MSU started working with My SSP at the beginning of September. The school’s partnership with the program is in its early stages.

Bree Salazar, a senior majoring in meteorology, said she just started using the app. Salazar said she supports the university sharing this resource. 

"I think it’s really good," Salazar said. "I like how easily accessible it is."

Daniel Lyons, a resident advisor at McKee Hall, said he sees the mental health struggles of his fellow college students first-hand.

He said the app could be a good thing to help students get the immediate help they need.

 "It could let others be heard a lot quicker than what they have before," Lyons said.

Students like Lyons have been involved with mental health awareness at MSU, and some students have been involved in the Mental Health Task Force on campus.

Jeremy Baham, assistant vice president of Student Support and Well-Being, said the purpose of the mental health task force is to create an environment full of positivity towards being mentally healthy.

MSU’s Mental Health Task Force met with the goal of creating an environment geared towards good mental health. They chose My SSP from three other options for mobile wellness.

My SSP was only one service that the mental health task force worked towards. The group pushed the university to hire more counselors for Student Counseling Services and advocated to have a nurse practitioner on campus.

"Counseling by itself is not going to help our students get out of this crisis," Baham said. "What we need to be thinking about is creating an environment at the university that promotes good mental health."

Baham said the task force looks for ways they can help students to never reach a crisis. He said they want to provide a toolbox of free and easily accessible resources for students, staff and faculty.

Lu Switzer, the director of Student Counseling Services, speaks with people every day about mental health. She said it can take a while to get somebody who is not in a crisis to come in and talk to a counselor.

"That’s when the app would be really good to fill in the gaps of that, you know, to be able to talk to somebody," Switzer said.

Since the release, she said dozens of people have already come to her and have asked to use the app.

While online reviews and feedback for the app prior to the MSU’s partnership have been mixed, there is a feedback option on the app, and Switzer said she hopes that students will use it to improve their experience.

In the following weeks, Baham said the university will push for people to download and have the app on hand for easier access to immediate services.

My SSP is available on Apple and Android devices through the App Store and Google Play. Visit www.myssp.app for more information.

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