Self-Help with TAO
Daphne De La Fuente, Peer Educator President
March 2nd, 2021
If you're like any other student currently, you may be feeling overwhelmed due to everything this year (and last year) has thrown at us. It seems like everything we know about school to work to relationships has changed… but what hasn't changed is how much we at the RISE office care about you <3
As a Texas Tech student, I definitely understand the difficulties we've been faced with. One support that I've used during my time at TTU is Therapy Assistance Online (or TAO for short). If you haven't heard of TAO before and are looking for a way to begin to tackle your mental health concerns from the comfort of your own home, this program is definitely right for you. Not only does the program have easy access anytime and anywhere, TAO can help you achieve your mental health goals in a variety of ways.
Today, we're focusing on TAO, a resource available to all Texas Tech students, and how you can begin to tackle some of those hard feelings you may be experiencing with the help of the program.
Self-help catered to YOU
As college students, one of the hardest things to come by is time. With ever-changing schedules because of the pandemic and surprise winter storms in Texas, it's difficult to devote a generous amount of time to destress or to worry about our mental health.
But like everything else, your mental health is connected not only to your own personal thoughts but also connects to your physical health, relationships, and so much more. Basically, if you aren't feeling the best, TAO is an accessible resource since it's self-paced and easy to use. Here are just a few reasons I use TAO:
Time or place does not matter
Whether you are an early bird trying to catch a calm 30 minutes before a full day of classes and work or a night owl trying to settle down from a fully stacked day, TAO is self-paced. This means that there are no due dates to stress about or synchronous times you need to be logged in on. TAO can fit anywhere in your schedule as you see fit since you can resume your modules at any time, which means self-help has never been easier. It's available 24/7, and unlike traditional therapy services that might be an hour long, a module course can be as short as 15 minutes.
Alongside the regular modules, TAO also has a Mindfulness Library, which has short videos for mediation and mindfulness exercises. These can be as short as 2 minutes, which can be easily played before a class or exam to help with destressing.
Mental health is not just one thing
Mental health affects all aspects of a person's life, and TAO is a program that acknowledges just how different people's mental health experiences are. The site offers not only a generic module on "How to feel better," but offers modules that target various mental health sub-topics that apply to your own life. These sub-topics include:
- General Well-Being and Resilience
- Improving Your Mood
- Leave Your Blues Behind
- Evaluating My Alcohol and Drug Use
- Interpersonal Relationship and Communication
- Pain Management
- But that's not all (Billy Mays voice)- there are other areas covered by TAO not listed above, too!
Different Therapy Treatments
Not only does the site discuss a range of mental health topics, but they also target different psychological approaches to learning about your mental health.
Some modules use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help with depression, stress, and anxiety symptoms. CBT tackles invasive thoughts by learning how to calm oneself and facing one's fears. According to the American Psychology Association, "Numerous research studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life." (1)
One module uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Treatment (ACT) to teach about well-being and resilience. ACT aims for students to "learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with their inner emotions and, instead, accept that these deeper feelings are appropriate responses to certain situations that should not prevent them from moving forward in their lives." (2)
Another module, in particular, uses Behavioral Activation Therapy to help with depression. This specific subset of therapy within CBT is made for students to, “help people engage more often in enjoyable activities and improve their problem-solving skills." (3)
Now's the time to take charge
Remember that everyone experiences their ups and downs in life, but sometimes our downs can feel heavy and get the best of us. If you're finding it hard to overcome an overwhelming feeling, maybe now's the time to take action. Even if it might feel like things aren't “bad enough” to seek out help, remember that everyone deserves to feel secure and sound. TAO can help you no matter where you are in your mental health journey.
Here are answers to some questions you might be asking:
Am I eligible to use TAO for free?
TAO is available to ALL Texas Tech students for free! All you will need is a TTU email address during the signup process.
Where can I sign up for TAO?
You can learn more about TAO or sign up for TAO on the TTU Dean of Student's website (4). There you will find the registration instructions on how to sign up.
What if I might need more help with handling my mental health than TAO can offer?
TAO Self-Help is a great first step to taking charge of your mental health, but sometimes we might need a little more help and more guidance. Thankfully, TTU also has the Counseling Center in any case you might need more support- that's also a free service (5)!
What if I'm in a current crisis and need help now?
The Texas Tech Crisis Helpline is available to all TTU students, 24/7, 365 days a year. If you need immediate help, call the Crisis Helpline at (806) 742-5555.
Your mental health matters, and we at RISE always want to make sure that you know of all the best resources available to you. There is no better time to take care of yourself and invest in your mental health than now. Lots of love and light to you all!