Recognizing that taking care of mental health is just as important as physical health, Miami Dade College (MDC) has partnered with Mantra Health, the leading digital mental health clinic focused on young adults, as well as the nation’s premier Suicide Prevention Center at Didi Hirsch, to provide virtual mental health and crisis care to students. Beginning Wednesday, December 15, students will have access to virtual therapy, free of charge for the first ten sessions, with convenient appointment times, including weekday evenings and weekends. The partnership also includes a custom crisis hotline powered by Didi Hirsch, offering 24/7, bi-lingual (English and Spanish) support for MDC students who need immediate mental health, substance use or suicidal crisis care.

In a new emergency call-to-action for youth mental health, the United States Surgeon General highlighted last month that over 6,600 young people died by suicide in 2020. Colleges across the U.S. have been struggling to keep up with student demand for mental health services as anxiety, depression, and PTSD continue to surge amidst the pandemic. Nearly ½ of college-age young people are showing symptoms of anxiety or depression per the CDC-US Census Bureau. Unfortunately, this comes on the backdrop of a national health workforce shortage with 1 in 3 Americans living in areas lacking mental health professionals.

The unprecedented toll on mental health has many state officials working to pass policies that will provide the necessary resources and access for the unmet mental health needs of today’s youth. In Florida, Sen. Anna Maria Rodriguez introduced a bill in November to help remove some of the

barriers. If the bill is passed it will make it easier for counselors to move to

Florida or remotely work with clients in the state.

While state officials work on policies to close the gap, MDC has partnered with Mantra Health and Didi Hirsch on an innovative solution to give students mental health services they need today. MDC’s campus counselors will be able to refer students to Mantra’s large network of providers, which will cut down on wait times and allow students to meet with licensed therapists over video and securely and continuously message them in-between appointments. Didi Hirsch will also provide 24/7 crisis care for students that require immediate attention or escalation.

Mantra’s comprehensive care model is designed to keep students engaged with their care for more successful outcomes. Its network of providers are all trained in evidence-based approaches and represent a variety of backgrounds and identities, making it easy for students to match with a provider that’s representative of their own background and identity. Mantra’s holistic approach also takes every aspect of a student’s lifestyle into consideration when establishing their treatment plan including diet, sleep, and exercise.

Students are able to track their progress through clinically-validated scales, which are reviewed periodically with their provider to make sure they’re

staying on track.

“Mantra’s mission is to improve the mental wellbeing of college students, leading to increased graduation rates and improved student and campus wellness,” said Ed Gaussen, co-founder and CEO of Mantra Health.

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services has been a recognized leader in whole-person mental health and crisis care for 80 years. Experts at its renowned

Suicide Prevention Center offer the nation’s most comprehensive array of suicide-specialized services including multiple English/Spanish, 24/7 hotlines like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and national Disaster Distress Helpline (becoming ‘988’ in July 2022), another line diverting 911 calls for

mental health or suicide from the LAPD to Didi Hirsch, Lifeline’s Crisis Chat & new Crisis Texting, and Teen Line. Didi Hirsch researchers have pioneered care innovations used around the globe for youth, adults, and families in crisis and at high risk of suicide.

“Expanding to Miami and customizing our care for today’s at-risk youth is a great example of Didi Hirsch trademark excellence and innovation. We can’t wait to see these future leaders safe and thriving!” aid Didi Hirsch’s CEO Jonathan Goldfinger, MD, MPH, FAAP.

To register for virtual mental health services, MDC students can sign up on using their email address or visit an on-campus

coordinator who can refer students directly to Mantra Health. Students in a crisis, with thoughts of suicide, or concerned about a peer can anonymously reach the new MDC Crisis Line at 1-888-983-0033.

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