Since the onset of the pandemic, all normal activities came to a halt. With the closure of educational institutions, the student community received a jolt due to a sudden break in studies. As a consequence, a large number of students who could not cope with this situation started suffering from mental health disorders and this number is increasing day by day.
Young Minds Of America Have Created Apps To Address Mental Health
As students never came across such a situation before, schools and colleges are not equipped to handle such a situation and still are facing great problems in coping with the circumstances.
At this juncture when there are a mental health crisis and the inability of campuses to meet students’ demands here comes the importance and need of digital platforms to make resources for mental health more accessible. Experts say that we can find a solution through innovation and digital support.
In the year 2016 when Colorado State University saw an influx of on-campus suicides, the institution approached Conrad. With the help of a design process that was student-centric Colorado State and Grit Digital Health started building prototypes and asked for students’ feedback. This resulted in the creation of YOU at the College level.
This platform is divided into three parts –thrive, succeed and matter — but maximum resources are accessed in ‘thrive,’ for behavioral and mental health.
During the initial days of the pandemic, plans to launch the app in West Coast colleges did not materialize because of the lockdown in California. But the students who got a chance to try the app YOU at College campuses responded positively. Just within the first two months of the creation of this platform about 17,000 accounts were created by the students which was a sign of its acceptance with eagerness among the student community.
The platforms are personalized keeping given each campus’s resources; these are tailored for each unique campus. The platform is designed to keep the students in the center. A lot of content related to COVID – ranging from loneliness, mental health to remote learning through physical distancing – was published.
YOU at College is introduced at around one hundred and sixty campuses in the States. NOD is another such platform made by Grit Digital Health which has been built to help fight loneliness and introduced at about and builds connections on campuses, is at about 10 campuses to build connections among students. Both apps can be used jointly as well as on their own.
In March and April of 2020 in the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Tyler Huang, Meagan Jenkins, and Alice Kim came across a huge gap in the communication relation between students and the kind of counseling services being offered.
Everything that happened in the pandemic was never thought of and no one knows how this isolation would affect the students. So a need was felt for more mental support. A huge number of students were struggling to cope with isolation and quarantine. It was taking a big toll on students’ mental health.
Since all three of the above mentioned are a part of the Student Counseling Services Student Advisory Board, they have approached the Student Counseling Services Director Dr. Angela Stowe. Their conversations resulted in the development of the B Well app.
Many focus group discussions have been organized across campuses to get input about features students to want, and that is what led to the addition of the features that are now part and parcel of this app. Stowe has said that some future developments are already in making, which include enhancing notifications. It also has in-app access to videos meant for relaxation and audio exercises besides mindfulness exercises and yoga.
At present, B Well is accessible to all faculty and UAB students. At this point, Jenkins said everyone should take the time out to take proper care of oneself and that is what this app is made for. So the students should look after their health through this app.