The University of New Mexico Student Health and Counseling Center (SHAC) has launched a platform for online counseling services, called Therapy Assistance Online (TAO).
The self-help tool includes educational development and a skill set improvement in areas such as mindfulness, communication and problem-solving.
"TAO is an online mental health platform that can help people who don’t come into counseling or can’t come into counseling, address mental health issues on their own," SHAC Counseling Director Dr. Stephanie McIver said.
Students are encouraged to sign up for TAO through the SHAC’s website (shac.unm.edu). Registration is a simple process, requiring only one’s name, UNM email address and demographic information. Additionally, registering comes at no cost to users.
Once a student is signed up, he or she can access TAO’s information through a computer or by downloading a mobile app that is available in all app stores. All information entered into TAO is de-identified and completely anonymous — similar to how the confidentiality of an in-person counseling session would function.
Through TAO, UNM students, faculty and staff can access a wide variety of modules to gain a higher level of understanding on mental health topics including depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, pain management and more. These modules provide tips for those suffering from such disorders as well as interactive informational sessions for those wishing to acquire knowledge on such topics. Additionally, the modules contain exercises to further aid the comprehension of mental health symptoms and resources.
One of TAO’s most popular features is its mindfulness library, which features an extensive compilation of mindfulness recordings that can be played in a limitless fashion. These recordings can have a target, such as pain reduction or body acceptance, or can be simple deep breathing exercises.
In essence, TAO offers free and confidential services to students who are unable to participate in in-person counseling.
“My greatest hope for students is that they recognize that mental health support and education and even treatment is available to them whether they walk through a clinic door or not,” she said.
Beatrice Nisoli is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BeatriceNisoli