As exam time rolls around, students may experience higher levels of stress. This season, another resource is available in the form of My Student Wellbeing, an online platform that can help U of M students access private mental health therapists.
Tyler Phill, founder and CEO of the company, explained how on the My Student Wellbeing website, students can get their insurance checked to see what they have covered.
On the website, students can also browse the clinician directory, where they are able to connect with a therapist of their choice. From there, students can book a free 10-minute consult call with a selected therapist to see if they are a good fit.
Under the UMSU health and dental plan, students have up to $1,250 in coverage for services with a mental health practitioner of their choosing.
The services covered include licenced clinical psychologists, counsellors, psychotherapists or an individual with a master’s in social work.
For students enrolled in the UMSU health and dental plan, My Student Wellbeing can directly bill their student insurance.
Once U of M students approach their $1,250 limit, My Student Wellbeing can notify students and suggest alternative optionsfor payment.
Students who are not under the UMSU health and dental plan can still use the service, but may need to pay out of pocket and bill their insurance themselves.
Online therapy sessions through My Student Wellbeing are conducted through a program called Jane, which ensures privacy and security between the therapists and their clients.
Jane also has a calendar where students can see a therapist’s availability, book their appointment and set up a reminder service that works best for them.
Phill explained that he started My Student Wellbeing after working in social work for about five years. During this time, he found himself wanting a role in an organization where he could make a systemic change that would help frontline staff and provide better services for clients.
“I provided counselling to clients myself and I loved the work, and I loved seeing people grow and improve and change their lives in that way, but I wanted to impact organizations in a larger way,” Phill said.
He returned to the University of Manitoba in 2017 to pursue a master’s degree in business administration, with the goal of eventually working for a social service organization. However, after seeing that those around him were unsure of what mental health services to use, he looked into the university’s insurance plan and discovered that he had insurance coverage.
“If I wasn’t just curious one day and looked into it, I probably would never have known that I had this coverage,” he said. “I just paid the fee in my tuition and never really thought about it.”
Phill realized that many other students were probably unaware of the coverage they had, and he also saw a need for more accessible mental health services. He began thinking of what he could do to try address these issues, and as his confidence and knowledge of business grew, he started working on the project.
He explained that the COVID-19 pandemic helped him come up with the idea of creating a virtual counselling and therapy practice that students could use with their insurance plan.
Phill said that his goal for the organization is to have therapists available within 24 hours for appointments with students who need them.
My Student Wellbeing is also looking to hire students from the U of M in the near future. Phill noted that providing students with proper work experience before graduation is another way of looking after their well-being.
He said that so far, he has received positive feedback from students and therapists alike.
More information on My Student Wellbeing can be found on the My Student Wellbeing website, or on its Instagram page.