UCF launches program aimed at connecting students to find support for mental health challenges

Goal is to help students find support and resources for mental health challenges they face while getting degree

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The University of Central Florida is launching a new program aimed at connecting students with other college students across the country.

The goal is to help students find support and resources for the mental health challenges they face while getting a degree.

It’s a free 24/7 online platform for participating universities called TogetherAll.

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UCF senior Mansi Patel said the pandemic was tough on her and her classmates.

This is why she signed up for the newly launched online program at UCF.

It’s a peer-to-peer support system to connect with other college students across the world who may also be facing similar struggles when it comes to mental health.

“I definitely felt some feelings of isolation and I was definitely struggling with that,” Patel said. “Being able to connect with other students specifically and get that relatability is extremely critical for us today.”

UCF said as of Thursday, about 45 students have signed up for the federally funded program, but they’re advertising it more on campus in hopes of seeing that number grow tremendously.

One advantage, besides the traditional therapy on campus, is that students can chat 24/7 with other students worldwide.

“I think we’re all recovering in some way. There’s been such trauma, grief and loss due to pandemic,” Dr. Karen Hofmann said.

Dr. Hofmann is the Director of Counseling & Psychological Services at UCF. She said many students have been seeking therapy since the pandemic, including more than 1,000 people for the first four weeks of this semester compared to 772 students for the same time last fall.

“We just want all UCF students to know this is available to them and they can register right now if they want,” Dr. Hofmann said. “I think everyone is needing some support and being a college student is tough enough.”

Mansi Patel is encouraging her peers to get results and seek help if they need it.

“It’s definitely beneficial to have the peer-to-peer aspect,” she said.

The program is strictly anonymous, and if you attend UCF, all you need is your UCF email address.

We’re told the Florida universities using the system are, UCF, the University of West Florida, the University of South Florida and Pensacola State.

Anyone interested in this program can click this link.

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.