Administrators and students are working together to bring a digital therapy program to the University of Kansas.
After establishing the Graduate Student Advisory Board, Interim Provost Carl Lejuez partnered with graduate students and Student Senate to create the program. It would allow graduate students to access therapy virtually, rather than going to the Counseling and Psychological Services office or other psychological clinics.
“I don’t know what direction we will go in on that now but I think we’re learning a lot and we want to make sure that we’re coming up with some things that will be unique and can actually really support students,” Lejuez said.
Digital therapy would allow flexibility with scheduling and would make the process of accessing therapy more private, as GTAs would not have the fear of potentially seeing their undergraduate students at a clinic.
“To have this idea of digital therapy where I can get the help that I need without having to feel uncomfortable or potentially stigmatized by going to go do so — very excited about that,” said Graduate Student Body Vice President Chris Brown.
Details about the execution for digital therapy program are still being worked out, Lejuez said. The committee is aiming to be sensitive to the needs of graduate students and make sure it is taking the right approach, he said.
Changes are also being made to current services, like the ones provided at CAPS. Most recently, CAPS expanded overall services and decreased the cost of psychiatric services.
“I think if you look at every year, they’ve done real tangible things to expand their access,” Lejuez said. “Doesn’t mean we’re there, we get that, we will each year want to be held accountable to that, but I think that they’ve shown that they’re priorities are in the right place.”
Though Lejuez said he would like to see costs reduced further, his first priority was to expand services so more students are able to access them as quickly as possible.
Brown is pursuing developing more programming for graduate students to build community.
For example, Senate is working on developing a graduate student lounge in the Burge Union.
“Let’s find more programming and opportunities to get together here, commiserate, talk about what’s going on in your research, my research, improve as scholars, and just look for a few more opportunities to get together and just make everyone feel a little more welcome to campus,” Brown said.