Mental health app is a new resource for Ducks abroad

Global Education Oregon is now providing students with access to My SSP, a mental health app that connects users to well-being resources while they study abroad.

The service has 24/7 support so students can have immediate conversations with mental health professionals via phone call or chat in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish and French. The resource is available to all students studying abroad with the University of Oregon, including faculty-led programs, university exchanges, programs through third-party providers, and GlobalWorks International Internships.

Mental health challenges while studying abroad can arise in many different forms. Most common is stress and anxiety brought on by adapting to a new environment and culture and not having access to the usual resources or comforts of home. A host of factors, including new languages, foods, people and time zones, can affect a student’s welfare and inhibit the ability to get all the benefits from a program abroad.

“A global experience is one of the most impactful and life-changing experiences a student can have,” said Will Johnson, assistant vice provost of operations and innovation for the Division of Global Engagement and acting executive director of Global Education Oregon. “And that means it affects you in ways that you’re not expecting and can put stress on aspects of your well-being that you can’t always anticipate or prepare for.”

In most cases, mental health counselors only are available in the state in which a person currently resides, which means students may not have access to their regular counselor internationally. My SSP will fill that gap.

Students will have access at their fingertips to a network of 35,000 licensed professionals to get support for cultural adaptation, mental health, academics and relationships. Features also include long-term support such as weekly therapy sessions in 150-plus languages, virtual workouts, well-being articles, podcasts and more guides to navigating well-being.

“We want to make sure students have access to these resources in the simplest way,” Johnson said. “Being able to pick up your phone, get a response in real-time, and get support allows you to refocus on what brought you abroad in the first place."

Students are encouraged to download the My SSP app and explore the services prior to departure. The app can be accessed via cellular data or Wi-Fi. Visit the Global Education Oregon website for more information.

—By Kaitlyn Jimenez, University Communications