By Sarah Wang | Staff Writer
As students jump into the spring semester, Baylor Health and Wellness is ready to serve students with expanded services and higher flexibility through its Academic Live Care program.
Baylor partnered with the Academic Live Care program to cater students’ needs for medical and counseling services. In addition to the resources offered by the health and counseling centers on campus, this program allows students to have an easier access to the facilities through virtual or Telehealth online services.
According to Dr. Jim Marsh, executive director of the Counseling Center, Baylor saw the need to expand the services virtually from national experts’ prediction that the need for counseling resources would increase with the country coming out of COVID-19.
“We realize that if the desire for these services goes up, we are not going to be able to meet it,” Marsh said. “That’s where we decided to get ahead and invest in the Academic Live Care program.”
According to the Academic Live Care website, all Baylor students have free and unlimited access to the 24/7, year-round services: Virtual Urgent Care, Psychiatry, Nutritional Counseling, Women’s Specialized Care and Wellbeing and Mental Health Counseling.
Students can also benefit from unlimited face-to-face visits for mental health counseling through referral to local providers who are in the Academic Live Care network.
Marsh said graduate students and students studying abroad can also use the new online tool since it is highly accessible to students. He said students are able to choose the services based on their preferences for the service in terms of demographics, race, gender or even language.
“Students have a lot of selection opportunity of the type of services that are provided,” Marsh said.
Apart from accessibility, Marsh said flexibility is also a key feature for users of Academic Live Care.
“One of the beauties of the services is that Academic Live Care is available in the evenings, on the weekends and even when the university is closed,” Marsh said.
To access medical services, students would create an online account, go to the website, look at doctors who are available and select whoever they prefer based on their preferences. On the counseling side, students would make a phone call, do an initial assessment over the phone and then pick a counselor of their choice.
Unlike other types of counseling center services from most universities, the Academic Live Care program also provides long-term counseling, which allows students to meet with the same therapist from semester to semester.
“Students might feel like it might be beneficial to meet with somebody for longer than a semester or for a year or two years,” Marsh said. “This program allows them to do that.”
Shanghai senior Yunting Ling said she had tried to reach out to the Health Center in the past when she was sick, but did not get an appointment because there were so many people using the services.
“I’ve never tried Academic Live Care services before,” Ling said, “but I would definitely try if there’s a need. I guess it would be much easier to get the services I need when there are so many options and providers for the services.”
In the past, Ling also said she has had to wake up very early to take an appointment with Health Services.
“It is also more convenient because you don’t have to drive all the way there and make appointments that barely fit into your schedule,” Ling said.
Students who need immediate mental health support or are looking to schedule a counseling appointment can call 833-969-3998. For medical services such as virtual urgent care, psychiatry or a nutritional services appointment, students can go to baylor.academiclivecare.com.