TCU’s Counseling and Mental Health Center is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but students facing a crisis after hours only have to pick up their phones for help.
Thanks to a grant from the Walsh Foundation, the university now has a 24/7 counseling hotline.
“If you want to talk to a counselor for any reason, even at 2 in the morning or 4 in the morning, a counselor will pick up,” said Dr. Eric Wood, associate director of the Counseling and Mental Health Center.
Wood said the addition of a 24/7 hotline helps make the center’s services “more accessible” and that the point of the helpline is to increase counselors’ access to students at all hours.
Students using the helpline will be connected to a counselor with ProtoCall, a Portland-based company that provides crisis coverage for colleges and universities.
ProtoCall and many other services provided by the Counseling and Mental Health Center are supported through donations from the Walsh Foundation. Wood said promoting mental health and counseling services is important to the foundation.
Officials with ProtoCall said they have been careful to learn about the campus and students.
“We worked with the counseling center staff for several weeks before going live with the TCU helpline to ensure we fully understood the needs of the center, the student population and the TCU campus community,” said Laura Schaefer, director of sales for ProtoCall.
The TCU Counseling and Mental Health Center has six full-time licensed therapists, two part-time therapists, three trainees and one psychiatrist for a campus of more than 10,000 students. 35 percent of the student body is being treated for depression, according to the center.
“The campus is growing,” Wood said. “There’s a higher demand for our services.”
Emily Marquez, president of FrogSpeak, said being understaffed is a large problem with counseling centers.
“I think [the counseling helpline] has the possibility to be very effective in helping people and getting them in contact with people in the counseling center that they need to talk to,” Marquez said.
Though the 24/7 Counseling Helpline is in its early stages, it is gaining a lot of popularity among students.
“It’s kind of new for us, but so far the response has been great,” Wood said. “It’s gotten a lot better just in general.”
The Counseling and Mental Health Center encourages students to call 817-257-SAFE (7233) to speak with a counselor.