Campus News

Mental Health Awareness Month: UK, Talkspace encourage students to 'Talk it Out'

Photo of Student on Laptop Looking at TRACS Website
Students can utilize TRACS (Triage, Referral, Assistance and Crisis Support), a physical and virtual one-stop shop for a quick referral to support services. Arden Barnes | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2024) — Highlighting the importance of mental wellness and fostering a supportive environment for students, the University of Kentucky joins the global community in observing Mental Health Awareness Month this May. 

This annual observance aims to raise awareness about mental health issues, reduce stigma and promote access to resources and services.

Mental Health Awareness Month traces its roots to Mental Health America (MHA), formerly known as the National Mental Health Association, which initiated the observance as Mental Health Week in 1949. Over the years, it has evolved into a month-long campaign — engaging communities, organizations and institutions worldwide in conversations and initiatives to prioritize mental well-being.

For college students, mental health plays a pivotal role in their overall academic success and personal growth. The university experience often brings about unique challenges — from academic pressures to social transitions — that can impact mental wellness. Recognizing these challenges, the university is committed to providing comprehensive support and resources.

"As an institution dedicated to the holistic development of our students, we recognize the profound impact of mental health on their well-being and academic journey,” David Beach, acting assistant vice president for well-being with the Office for Student Success, said. “This month, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering a campus culture that prioritizes mental wellness and provides accessible resources for all students.”

Through Student Success, UK offers a range of mental health resources and services including: counseling and psychological services, mental health awareness workshops, peer support programs, and partnerships with community mental health organizations. These efforts are complemented by a campuswide commitment to promote mental health literacy, reduce stigma and encourage open dialogue about mental wellness.

In an effort to expand mental health resources for students, last year, UK partnered with Talkspace. The confidential and secure online text and video chat therapy platform offers access to mental health clinicians. With a network of thousands of credentialed clinicians, Talkspace is used by more than one million people, matching them with a licensed therapist that best suits their needs.

This May, Talkspace is celebrating the power of talking to a licensed therapist to overcome challenges and build mental resilence. "When you open up to a therapist you don’t know quite what to expect, or which feelings and discoveries therapy will bring up for you on a given day," Talkspace said in a description of its "Talk it Out" campaign. "However, one thing’s certain: If you keep talking, you’ll gain insights and uncover truths that you can only find in therapy."

Beach looks at Talkspace as a way to supplement the wide number of resources that already exist at UK and likens it to the Swiss cheese analogy.

"Each resource has holes," he explained. "However, if we layer the resources, each and every student has access to mental health support in a way that works for them."

How Talkspace works: 

  • Answer a few simple questions to get started — it takes less than two minutes.
  • The Talkspace team will match you with a provider (typically within 48 hours).
  • Connect with your provider and begin your mental health journey, including unlimited messaging and two phone or video sessions each month.

All currently enrolled students have access to Talkspace, free of charge. To learn more, visit:

For additional mental health resources at UK, students can utilize TRACS (Triage, Referral, Assistance and Crisis Support). The physical and virtual one-stop shop offers a quick referral to support services and direct clinical support for a range of mental health needs.

Services are offered in-person and virtually, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more information on TRACS, visit

To learn more about mental health resources available to staff and faculty, please visit the UK HR website.

At the University of Kentucky, students are at the center of all that we do. From the moment you become a Wildcat through graduation and beyond, the Office for Student Success is committed to supporting you. Comprised of five areas and 25 units, together, they have one vision — to help students live a life of meaning. Student Success works through an equitable, holistic and inclusive lens to design and deliver unparalleled services and support a diverse community of learners in achieving their wildest ambitions. In the Office for Student Success this is what we do — this is who we are. You can explore resources available to you here. If you have additional questions, you can reach a Student Success team member by calling the helpline 859-218-YouK (9685).