Telemental health policies for college students during COVID-19

J Am Coll Health. 2021 Apr 23;1-5. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2021.1909040. Online ahead of print.


Federal and institutional policy changes have accelerated the use of telemental health to care for college students distant from their mental health providers during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic. Temporary measures have made telemental health more readily available, including relaxing of regulations related to interstate licensure, controlled substance prescribing, patient privacy, and reimbursement. Though early efforts are underway to sustain these changes during and in the wake of the pandemic, there are important areas in which federal and institutional policy are still lacking. Additional steps are needed to successfully implement and sustain telemental health for college students include ensuring student access to technology and Internet; proactive outreach to optimize the student's home environment, addressing concerns about safety and confidentiality; developing the means to track rapidly shifting telemental health policy changes; and developing centralized resources that enable remote providers to become familiar with involuntary commitment laws and emergency protocols.

Keywords: COVID-19; Counseling; health policy; mental health; telehealth.