UWEC partners with Mantra Health: Additional mental health support for students.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the expansion of telehealth services like Mantra Health continues to develop. Now all UW System schools with the exception of UW-Madison have partnered with Mantra Health.


Michael Koehler

UW-Eau Claire counseling services sign with included contact information located in Vicki Lord Larson Hall on campus, March 2023

Michael Koehler

A short guide that details how to sign up for Mantra Health. 2023 (Michael Koehler)

With the start of a new spring semester at UWEC, students have returned to campus with a new variety of mental health support options through the university’s recent partnership with Mantra Health

In May 2022, the UW System was awarded a $5 million dollar grant from federal stimulus money to gain additional mental health support throughout campuses across the state. With this grant, the UW System decided to move forward in a partnership with Mantra Health. Established in 2018, Mantra Health has done a variety of work to aid mental health. The organization is largely driven by college universities with the goal of reaching the student demographic and giving support to campus counseling services. 

The partnership allows students to access licensed professionals through online services and offers greater flexibility when seeking mental health support. Telehealth has been a high priority for the UW System since the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while it is offered through the counselors at UWEC, the partnership with Mantra Health will allow access to a variety of telehealth support options.

The support from Mantra Health will also aid on-campus counselors in giving them more resources to better reach students.

The goal of reaching more students through telehealth and the partnership with Mantra Health is seen at UWEC by the counselors that are involved every day. Riley McGrath, a licensed psychologist, and the director of counseling services at UWEC says the main reason for partnering with Mantra Health is to “extend resources.” 

“We’ve noticed that there’s a clear preference for in-person counseling sessions, but it depends on your situation,” he said. “This also provides access to students at Barron County and the Marshfield campuses along with other situations where direct access is more difficult, overall it increases capacity.”

With the increased access students now have to various mediums of counseling, the overall number of students that can be reached is higher. This is a point of emphasis in partnering with Mantra Health as it allows students the freedom to decide what avenue works best for them. Given the increase in resources, and the addition of a 24/7 bilingual crisis care service that is custom-built for higher education institutions, on-campus counselors now have more to utilize when finding students the best option for their mental health.

Benjamin Bechle, a licensed professional counselor and the suicide prevention coordinator at UWEC sees the partnership as a way to not only reach more students but to give them specialized help from a variety of options in counselors and practices. 

“With the additional resources available through Mantra, students are able to seek specifically targeted health practices to best serve each individual,” he said. 

Even with the increase in resources, and UWEC leading the state with the most students utilizing Mantra Health, the counseling services offered on campus are not seeing any decrease in numbers as far as booking appointments. This being said, students benefit by being able to meet with their counselors more often. 

Students on and off campus seem to have overwhelmingly positive reviews of the partnership with Mantra Health. Brady Berg, a senior in the education program at UWEC sees the partnership as “very convenient.” 

“Right now I am student teaching over in New Richmond and knowing that I have the option to be seen by licensed professionals without having to be physically on campus is a really good thing to have,” he said.  

Even UWEC graduates are happy to see the university putting effort into expanding its mental health services. Jaden Northrup graduated last semester with a degree in psychology and he feels like the partnership is a “necessary step.”

“The stress of school puts a lot of pressure on students, so having 24/7 free access to mental health help is a great way to expose students to gaining any help they may need,” he said. “It could also help open students to continue seeking help after they leave Eau Claire.” 

Providing students with a free and accessible counseling option encourages them to continue seeking out mental health resources beyond their time at UWEC. The $5 million dollar grant awarded to the UW system will not fund the partnership with Mantra health forever, but placing a higher focus on extending the reach of mental health resources while they can is a high priority. McGrath is happy to have these resources for not just UWEC students, but all college students. 

“[Mantra Health] view themselves as a way to supplement care on campuses,” said McGrath. “Knowing that Wisconsin is not unique in having a high demand for counseling, [Mantra Health] connects with lots of different campuses out there to help in various ways.” 

Expanding the reach of mental health resources is what Mantra Health is here for. The support they offer counseling services enables the vast population of college students to receive any help they may need. The more resources the better, and for UWEC, the gain of additional resources from Mantra Health could prove substantial for those looking for mental health support.