Ohio University students will now be able to access mental health care services from their fingertips as part of an interactive online therapy program known as Welltrack.
The app is available at no cost to all OU students, faculty and staff.
“Students can use this as a self-help without seeing a counselor at CPS, especially those who are looking for help to manage their mild stress levels and prevention of anxiety and depression,” Counseling and Psychological Services Director Alfred Weiner said.
Since CPS is not a 24-hour facility, and has limited drop-in hours, the app provides students with care in their own environment and on their own time.
There were 35,877 eligible students for the app at the start of Fall Semester, according to institutional research. As of Dec. 5, the app hosted 82 active users from OU. That number has grown to 537 students in less than two months.
In total, the app has more than 500,000 individual users according to the Welltrack website. The app will cost OU $17,538 this year, and 50 cents per eligible student per year.
Some students, however, are skeptical of the effectiveness of the new app.
“Personally, I have anxiety but I don’t think having those modules would help me,” Bailee Nemeth, a freshman studying biological sciences, said. “That’s just not how I cope... I don’t think it will be as beneficial as the school is saying, especially spending that much money.”
Katie Arnold, a freshman studying communications sciences and disorders, thinks the app will be beneficial to OU students.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Arnold said. “I feel like a lot of college students are stressed, and this would be a good resource.”
When users first access the app, they are presented with a brief assessment that suggests the next steps they should take, such as using emergency help, seeing a counselor at CPS or continuing to use the app’s modules.
“The initial assessment helps students to understand the level of care they need and will be informed of various resources available to them,” Weiner said.
The app offers three online assisted therapy modules. There are five sessions to help the user cope with anxiety and stress, six sessions for depression and five sessions that focus on public speaking.
Welltrack also provides a “mood check” app, as well as a virtual “zen room” for practicing relaxation, a thought diary, activity scheduler and a cognitive distortions quiz.
“Students can use this app to understand their moods and associated behaviors over time,” Weiner said.
While the tool will be useful for CPS, the app was never meant to substitute for in-person counseling.
“We hope that OHIO students can use this tool as a first step in managing mental health,” Weiner said.