WSU introduces new mental health resource

ProtoCall+ goes live this week for two additional campuses



The platform includes an after-hours crisis line and a community referral network among other resources.

JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen reporter

The ProtoCall+ platform will be made available to WSU students later this week, featuring four different services for students seeking virtual mental health resources

Patience McGinnis, Vancouver director of student wellness, said that ProtoCall+’s resources include an after-hours phone number for students to call; Togetherall, a peer support platform; WellTrack, a self-help platform; and Shrink Space, a community referral network.

“All of these services will be available to all students with a WSU email account,” McGinnis said. “Being able to have these supplemental services I believe will be really helpful to our students.”

McGinnis said this is the first time ProtoCall+ has worked with a university system where there are multiple campuses. Previously, the ProtoCall+ after-hours crisis line was only available to a few campuses, including Pullman and Spokane.

McGinnis said the service is not live yet, but the program was finalized and approved on Aug. 1.

“We’re trying to make sure everything is ready to go,” she said. “It hasn’t been linked to the websites yet, but I think it’s sometime next week that it will be launched.”

The ProtoCall+ platform is nearly finished for students’ use and they are waiting for the last few tech pieces, said Ellen Taylor, WSU Pullman vice chancellor for student affairs.

“Once we have that, what we’re working on is the messaging. I am relying on our marketing professionals to do that to develop an awareness campaign,” Taylor said. “Students can expect to see marketing through social media, the video boards that you can see through various locations. Students will start seeing it in a variety of places.”

Taylor said the WSU administration has been trying to find an adequate mental health platform for students for about three years.

“Several years ago, before the pandemic, I convened a group of folks all around the system to talk about how we could build out support services for students,” Taylor said. “On some of our campuses we have quite robust services, but on other campuses less so.”

Taylor said she is excited the program is being launched and available to students after a long time in development.

“We’ve been talking for a long time about the need to expand services for student mental health. It’s really critical that we continue to have mental health professionals available for students. Not every student needs to or wants to meet with a counselor,” Taylor said.

On Aug. 26, ProtoCall+ held a demonstration to show people who work with students how to use the programs, McGinnis said. The meeting involved people on all WSU campuses.

“I’m just really excited, it’s been wonderful,” McGinnis said. “I think it’s really great that WSU is thinking of all students and am really excited to launch these platforms.”