Mental health needs for some students are at a high, especially now with finals, cold weather, holidays and even the war between Israel and Hamas. 

The text-based mental health app COUNSLR aims to support students with all types of needs by providing licensed professionals around the clock. Recently, the platform announced its partnership with three Greek life organizations at Syracuse University.

Sabrina Siegel is a junior at Syracuse University and a member of Alpha Phi Sorority. Last year, she became the vice president of health, wellness and accountability.

“I got involved with the house and was able to take care of girls in the house and really get to bond and really loved my experience and I just finished up my term in November,” Siegel said.

She says partnering with COUNSLR was the perfect initiative to bring to the sorority.

“It’s finals, the weather’s changing [and] there’s complicated stuff going on politically," Siegel said. "I know girls have a lot to talk about. Mental health and Greek life isn’t necessarily always so easy and always so normalized. Being able to try to normalize that for these girls has been a huge initiative for me and I think people have really appreciated it and loved it.” 

COUNSLR was founded in 2019. Their mission was to make mental health support more accessible on college campuses, but now it has expanded to a variety of organizations, businesses and high schools. Users can access support on demand within just minutes of opening the app.

“We are not a replacement for traditional therapy," COUNSLR CEO Joshua Liss said. "Meaning we don’t diagnose, we don’t treat [and] we don’t prescribe medication. We are there to provide support, coping strategies, empathy, reflecting listening [and] the sharing of resources. Whenever I talk to students at schools, when we do welcome presentations, I always kind of like to say, COUNSLR, the app, is like a best friend in your pocket who happens to be a licensed counselor.” 

And although the service is provided to the student or member at no direct cost, the sponsoring organization, the sorority in this case, pays for the service.

“This is really a huge step for this house, to focus on mental health and have an opportunity like this to work for a company like COUNSLR,” Siegel said.

Siegel was also able to intern with COUNSLR and she says experiencing the company from the marketing side as well as watching her sorority sisters benefit from it has been a great learning experience.

“I’ve been able to bring something to this house that really gives girls something they’ve never had before and can hopefully be that release that they need when they are stressed out or that person to talk to that they’ve never really had," Siegel said. "So it’s been amazing."