Ohio University’s Counseling and Psychological Services encourages its patients to use an online tool and application to support their mental health.
WellTrack is an online self-help therapy tool OU students can use on their computer or download as a mobile app, CPS Director Paul Castelino said.
“Students can use this service at any time and place and do it at their own pace without having to interact with a clinician,” Castelino said in an email.
Students and faculty members at OU can use their university email addresses to create accounts, which allows them to set up counseling appointments through CPS.
While there are many self-care apps available for download, Rebecca Smith, a counselor at CPS, thinks WellTrack being continuously updated and free for students at OU helps it stand out.
“The people at WellTrack are constantly updating things, constantly checking in with the universities who are using WellTrack and kind of tailoring things to fit their needs. So they're very responsive,” Smith said.
WellTrack costs 50 cents for every OU enrolled student per year, Castelino said.
“OUCPS has contracted with WellTrack and pays about $20,000 a year that covers every (Ohio) University student including students on regional campuses and centers and students on eCampus,” Castelino said in an email.
Smith said CPS can track how many students are actively using the the app since the university introduced it about two years ago.
Smith can track the growth of use through 30-day periods. There are about 3,000 to 4,000 accounts in OU’s WellTrack database.
“I can't tell you what kind of account they are, like whether it's students or faculty signing in,” Smith said. “(There) must be at about 2,000 active users … not just (on the) Athens campus.”
Nicole Stokes, a junior studying communication sciences and disorders, said she has seen posters for the app but has not tried it.
“It would be something I would be interested in,” Stokes said. “It’s on the phone, so it would be easy access.”
Some of the tools within the app help patients with stress, anxiety or depression.
“So, it’s kind of meant to be like therapy outside of therapy,” Smith said. “It works really well if you aren't wanting counseling and it works really well in tandem with counseling.”
One of the tool’s main features is the mood tracker, which introduces how users can begin to notice certain periods throughout the day when their mood changes and how they can prepare.
Dani Wolfe, a sophomore studying creative writing, thinks WellTrack would be something she would use.
“I haven’t heard of it or have tracked my moods before,” she said. “But I am open to using it.”
Depending on the client and counselors’ preferences, the app can be used to discuss the data gathered at counseling sessions.
“Particularly clients who log a lot of moods throughout the week, they get more data so they're able to better pinpoint things,” Smith said. “So it varies. Different counselors here have their own style and how they approach it.”
While the app offers ways to combat certain mental health issues, it is limited to only those issues.
“There are other concerns that students might experience that aren't really addressed in the app,” Smith said.
Smith said WellTrack is working on developing other “modules” to be included in the app.
The data that WellTrack receives is confidential and is not monitored by anyone at CPS, but it can be shared or unshared at any time by the patient at their discretion, Smith said.