The Collegian
Sunday, December 10, 2023

With CAPS's limitations, UR offers alternative mental health resource through app

<p>Graphic design by Lily Wood.&nbsp;</p>

Graphic design by Lily Wood. 

The University of Richmond announced its partnership with TimelyCare, an on-demand mental health app specifically curated for college campuses, on Aug 21. 

TimelyCare offers a variety of resources for its partners, ranging from counseling to a 24/7 warmline. The app and its features are offered to full-time, degree-seeking students, staff and faculty of partnered universities, according to Kristen Day, UR’s director of Counseling and Psychological Services.

While CAPS has set office hours, TimelyCare offers appointments at night and on weekends, which would make it easier for students to access the care they may need at any time, Day said. The service is available in all 50 states and overseas anytime of the year, including holidays. 

“A lot of students can’t always make it to CAPS between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.,” Day said. “The hope is to just provide enhanced accessibility for students.”

CAPS has a total of eight therapists and two psychiatrists on staff, according to UR’s website. However, at a school with an undergraduate student body of just above 4,000, they cannot always meet with everyone who reaches out to CAPS given conflicting availability. In those circumstances, TimelyCare is a good alternative, Day said. 

TimelyCare offers 12 free counseling appointments per year. After that, users will have to pay a flat fee of $75, as the app does not take health insurance, Day said. It is not accessible to students after they graduate. 

“It’s a great option for students [over] the summer,” Day said. “That could be weekly care over break, especially for students who live in a different state, or are even abroad, and because CAPS is closed presently in the summer.”

TimelyCare was founded in 2017 and grew exponentially from 15 partner schools in 2020 to 100 the next year, according to its website. As of 2023, TimelyCare collaborates with over 200 institutions across the United States. 

It is also one of the most widely used telehealth platforms, offering a unique set of self-care modules, Day said. These include meditation, yoga, study essentials and more. 

“We did our homework and surveyed different platforms to use,” Day said. “Out of all of them, TimelyCare got the most positive feedback.”

TimelyCare psychiatrists and therapists cannot diagnose or provide their patients with testing for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, personality disorders or learning disabilities. However, they can refer users to a local prescriber, according to UR’s website. They can diagnose mood and anxiety disorders, Day said. 

The partnership between UR and TimelyCare is supported by Michelle Ward, a client success manager with TimelyCare. Part of this role involves visiting campuses and gauging how students and faculty have used the app. 

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“The possibilities are truly endless,” Ward wrote in an email to The Collegian. “We're here to ensure students are empowered to be well and thrive in all aspects of their lives. I know that students who take full advantage of our platform will feel more empowered in their well-being.” 

Shay Harris, a junior and resident-assistant at UR, first heard about the app through an RA announcement. 

“I think that it’s a good addition, since mental health needs to be talked about a little more [on campus],” Harris said. “There’s always a little more to be done.” 

They also noted that it could be a useful resource for first-years to help with their transition into college. 

“It’s nice that there’s another resource to accommodate those who can’t go [to CAPS] in person,” they said. “24/7 care can help with residents who need on-the-go-communication with professionals, too.”

TimelyCare is available on all smartphones, laptops and browsers. Students can register using their UR email. It is also accessible through SpiderSafe, UR’s official safety app. 

Contact Investigative Editor Caitlin McCormack at

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