Counseling center-based tele-mental health for students at a rural university

Elena V. Khasanshina, Wendy L. Wolfe, Ellen N. Emerson, Max E. Stachura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Students attending rural academic institutions often have no immediate access to psychiatrists to supplement on-site Counseling Center (CC) services. Because the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) could not cost-effectively provide on-site psychiatry services to Georgia Southern University (GSU) students, the two institutions explored telehealth services delivered by supervised Psychiatry residents using Web-based videoconferencing on MCG's virtual private network. GSU counselors completed client severity rating forms. CC clients in ongoing therapy who were judged to be in need of psychiatric services were referred to the Tele-clinic (TC). CC counselors referred the most challenged students to TC according to total distress score on intake, clinician intake assessment of client difficulty, and client need for medications. After seeing the clients in TC, MCG residents also completed GSU CC client severity rating forms. Post-intake and satisfaction surveys already in use at the GSU CC were completed both by CC clients not in TC and by CC clients jointly enrolled in TC. TC and CC populations were compared by gender, race, past mental health treatment, past psychiatric hospitalization, and past and current use of psychotropic drugs. Telepsychiatry conducted using low bandwidth videoconferencing successfully supplemented GSU CC mental healthcare, especially for clients with the most serious problems, and did so without travel from campus and within the milieu of daily student life. Cost-effective telepsychiatry services can successfully supplement management of students with mental health issues who attend rural, smaller, and/or resource-challenged academic institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008


  • College students
  • Counseling center
  • Rural colleges
  • Tele-mental health
  • Videoconferencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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