UCC adopts partnership with TimelyCare

After abandoning its rapid access model, the UCC is now offering telehealth services


Courtesy of the University Counseling Center

Wake Forest University students meet up with their friends and socialize before finding their classes on the first day.

 After a December announcement that Wake Forest’s Counseling Center will not be continuing usage of their rapid access model for the spring semester, the UCC has proceeded with the implementation of TimelyCare — a telehealth provider that offers no-cost services to students at many major universities — into its treatment model. 

The University’s decision to discontinue the rapid-access model was based on its temporary nature. The model was an impermanent structure designed after midterms and before finals in order to quickly give access to students in a high-demand period for the UCC.

TimelyCare will act as part of a return to the original treatment system for the UCC, as confirmed by its director, Dr. Warrenetta Mann, in a letter written to the Old Gold & Black. The services provided through this partnership are intended to supplement those provided by the UCC. The program is meant to “expand and enhance mental health support to Wake Forest students,” Mann wrote. 

“After a thorough process of researching and reviewing several telehealth companies, we found that TimelyCare best understood our campus community and our students’ needs related to mental and emotional wellbeing,” Mann said.

TimelyCare offers 24/7 medical and mental health care through a virtual meeting space in which any student may talk to a doctor, counselor, or health coach. The scheduled counseling services that the program offers are 45-minute appointments with a licensed counselor with an average 5-10 minute wait time. The service offers up to 12 counseling sessions per academic year as well as an unlimited number of TalkNow sessions for mental health support.

TimelyCare also offers a resource entitled Health Coaching. This scheduled appointment service is designed to help students start and maintain optimal sleep, nutrition, exercise, weight and stress management strategies with a health coach. 

TimelyCare has gained significant traction across the nation during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Academic institutions such as Duke University, Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte and Belmont University now offer the service to their students.

As the UCC struggled to find counseling professionals throughout the last year, TimelyCare appeared as a crucial resource because it allowed students to schedule appointments virtually with a larger pool of licensed healthcare professionals at no cost to students.

The virtual service was first introduced at Wake Forest through a soft rollout in the fall semester, and will now be launched and advertised at the end of January. President Susan Wente spoke favorably about TimelyCare and expressed optimism for the new resource.

“We are currently facing a national shortage of in-person providers, which is what led us to this decision,” Wente said. “We have to find new ways of addressing the needs of our campus and TimelyCare will be an important strategy for us.”

Students have expressed hope about the introduction of TimelyCare to the UCC. Junior Joe Cho shared his confidence about the university’s decision.

“The university has consistently underestimated the gravity of need for accessible counseling during the pandemic,” Cho said. “But as an advocate for mental health and well-being, I see this as a first step into the right direction.”

Senior Sophie Yass agreed. “As someone who always finds themselves pressed for time, adding TimelyCare to the counseling center is a helpful additional option to students like me,” Yass said. 

Other students voiced their concerns about TimelyCare’s ability to manage students over a long-term period.

“It’s important to have access to mental health care especially in times like these,” junior Ali McCarthy said. “However, models like these can be unattractive to students because having to reexplain a narrative every time you meet with a therapist is extremely debilitating.”

Mann spoke about the struggles caused by the pandemic saying, “we recognize that the pandemic has had an adverse impact on all of us, especially our students. We want you to know that your mental health and wellbeing is our top priority. Our partnership with TimelyCare is just another way for us to support you.”

All of the TimelyCare services are confidential and free to Reynolda Campus undergraduate and graduate students. They can be easily accessed at timelycare.com/wakeforest or on the TimelyCare app.