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HEALTH: TAMIU launches health student support app

HEALTH: TAMIU launches health student support app

By Enrique Fiscal
Bridge contributing writer
Published Thursday, April 11, 2024

In an effort to prioritize students’ mental health, TAMIU partnered with TELUS Health Student Support to offer a new assistance app.

The app released on Feb. 5 and includes counseling available 24/7 via chat and phone, short-term virtual counseling appointments and a wide range of digital content related to mental health.

A student checking the TELUS app.
Cris Cordova | Bridge Photo Illustration
TAMIU student Marcos Villagran looks at the TELUS Health app on his phone during this staged photo taken Tuesday, April 2.

Another important feature the app includes is its multi-language service. It provides content and support in languages such as Spanish, English, Cantonese, French and Mandarin.

“I do feel it’s an important feature,” Texas A&M International University Director of Student Counseling Rosabel Ramos said. “Especially for us, because we are an international university, and we host students from different countries. So that helps access mental services because a lot of people prefer to use their first language when they attend counseling services.”

Ramos also highlighted the importance of having service in multiple languages, mainly taking into consideration that the main population in Laredo and TAMIU is Hispanic and speaks Spanish. Ramos said several students asked to receive counseling in Spanish.

“They feel more comfortable in their first language,” she said.

Dulce Ponce, a TAMIU international student who uses the TELUS app, also thinks the multi-language service is helpful and agrees with Ramos.

“English is not my first language, so I can easily read the information in my first language, and it’s comfortable for me,” Ponce said.

Regarding the app’s handling, Ponce said it was easy to use due to its quickly accessible features.

Rosabel Ramos portrait.
Submitted Photo
Rosabel Ramos
Student Counseling & Disability Services director

“My favorite thing [about the app] is the explore section because I can find information about anxiety and depression and apply some of the concepts and techniques to my daily life and routine,” she said.

After the release, on Feb. 12, TAMIU organized an on-campus event for enrolled students. In this event, students would receive a free donut for downloading the TELUS app.

Student Government Association President Carolina Ramirez participated in the organization of the event. She said they accumulated more than 230 student downloads of the app during the two-hour event.

Ramirez also said they received positive feedback from students for this event and highlighted the collective work done by the SGA and TAMIU departments of Counseling Services and Public Relations as factors for the event’s success.

Reflecting on the app’s effectiveness, Ramos said it was too early to rate its success; however, she shared her expectations for the future.

Ramos said she hopes as many students as possible will download the app since mental health is nowadays a “hot topic.”

“I think the younger generation is very comfortable speaking about what they’re going through,” Ramos said. “There’s still some stigma, don’t get me wrong, but I think it’s a lot less when we compare it to 10 years ago.”

Ramirez also highlighted the importance of students taking care of their mental health. She said students go through a lot of new things in college, so it’s important for them to know how to deal with everything.

She also said the app is relevant for the LGBTQ+ community and allies since it has several features that might be especially helpful for them. For example, the app offers advice and support for coming out and understanding the tone when dealing with topics like this one.

Both Ramos and Ramirez encouraged all TAMIU students to download the app.

“I think the app is just a great exposure to what it’s like to receive multiple services,” Ramirez said.

Ponce also said it’s important to have resources, such as the TELUS app, since it can be a useful alternative and/or addition to the counseling sessions already offered by TAMIU.

Ramirez also sees the app as a possible alternative to TAMIU counseling services.

“It’s also good for students who are probably on the wait list to receive safety-based services at our university,” she said.

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