GBC launches free telehealth counseling for students

ELKO — Great Basin College has partnered with BetterMynd, an online therapy platform, to offer enrolled GBC students, 18 and older, access to free teletherapy sessions from a diverse network of licensed mental health counselors.

Dr. Amber Donnelli, Associate Vice President for Faculty Success, helped spearhead the new service to meet what she says is a growing need among students for mental health support.

“Our goal is to address the whole student,” she said. “In addition to meeting intellectual needs, we are anxious to address mental and emotional needs to build resiliency and foster hope.”

According to BetterMynd, each 50-minute live video telehealth session is private, confidential and can take place from the convenience of the student’s laptop, smartphone or tablet. Teletherapy sessions are available during the day, at night and on weekends, to provide support regardless of the student’s schedule.

“With the holidays here, and final exams quickly approaching, we know that the stress on our students is likely to increase,” said Gail Rappa, Mental Health Coordinator for GBC. “The beauty of BetterMynd is the ease and speed of access: it takes only five minutes for students to register, select a counselor, and book their first session, regardless of where they are located!”

GBC is able to provide the BetterMynd services through a generous local donation from Elko Federal Credit Union (EFCU) and significant funding from a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant through the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Mental Health Services Pilot Project.

Elko Federal Credit Union Chief Executive Officer Todd Sorenson said helping to fill this critical student need was an easy decision. “EFCU management and our board of directors recognized a need to support mental health; we are committed to furthering access to specialized resources in our community.” Sorenson added,” he said. “This commitment to GBC is meaningful to the students as well as community members.”

The SAMHSA funding through NSHE also provides Mental Health First Aid and 

LivingWorks suicide prevention training—both live and online — free to GBC employees, students, and alumni. For information on any of the mental health resources available at Great Basin College, please contact Mental Health Coordinator Gail Rappa at or (775) 327-2146.