How Can We Leverage Technology to Solve College Mental Health?

How Can We Leverage Technology to Solve College Mental Health

Technology can be used to address mental health issues on college campuses. This includes using technology to help students communicate and connect with one another, as well as providing resources and support.

Students can use technologies such as social media, messaging apps, and online communities to connect with others who share their experiences or concerns. These platforms can also be used for resources such as counseling services or support groups. Additionally, colleges could develop their own online tools and resources specifically designed for mental health needs on campus.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 40% of students who begin a bachelor’s degree program do not actually earn a degree within six years.

A survey of students who dropped out of college conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that 64% of them dropped out because of mental illness. Of those 64%, 45% did not seek help on campus before dropping out.

Why is this?  Colleges are currently spending more money than ever on collegiate mental health (SUNY just committed another $24 million in funding) but will this help if 45% of students still do not seek help?

From peer reviewed scientific research, we know three facts.  One, as a 2014 study from Berkeley showed (The Sharing Effect | Greater Good (berkeley.edu)),  individuals show significant benefit from simply sharing their feelings with another.  Two, individuals may be more likely to access professional services if encouraged to do so by a peer.  2     Three, individuals may lack the emotional energy to reach out to a peer or loved one when they are struggling or hesitate to do so due to fears of rejection or being viewed as a burden.

Students are constantly on their phones.  Can we leverage this in a way to create peer and family support for our college students, to help guide them to seek professional help?

Imagine this.  Jamie, a college student, is suffering from significant anxiety and depression. She feels heavy pressure from her parents to do well but she also feels pressure to fit in at school.  She feels torn between the peer pressure of social events and the stress incurred from her parents. She feels she may be inadequate to handle her schoolwork but is scared to ask for help.  She constantly fears what will happen if her grades are low.  She worries incessantly and has started drinking to cope with her anxiety. She knows she needs help but doesn’t know who to tell or what to do.  She doesn’t really know how to access the student wellness therapy offerings and she really does not want to tell her troubles to a stranger.  How will they help, she thinks?  They don’t know what my parents are like or what stress I’m under.  She hasn’t made enough close friends at school yet to talk to, plus everyone is too caught up in partying.  She feels lost and alone.

Sadly, Jamie’s story is all too common as we note in Alicia Betz’ personal story at  The State of Mental Health in College Students Today – HIGHER ED CONNECTS  Jamie needs a warm handoff to someone she knows and trusts, who can then encourage her to seek professional help if still needed.   How do we bridge from Jamie’s needs to the professional services the college offers? And how do we secure enough help that we can meet the need of all the Jamies’ at college?  How do we even find out who is suffering and needs help?

Solution:  Although students are not likely to text or a call a friend or family member for help, for the reasons shown above, they do spend a good deal of time online researching their symptoms, taking mood scales and experimenting with mood apps.   What if technology did the hard work of reaching out for them?   A new patent pending app called NeuraBoot promises to do just that, by automatically sending a permission based customized text to a user’s supporter, when the app determines the user is struggling.

Students are more likely to respond once a familiar voice reaches out to them, then they are to actively reach out when they need help.  We need more solutions that incorporate a student’s natural support system, guiding them holistically to the professional services the college can then offer.

College orientation could include these modalities, teaching students ways they can be emotional buddies and peer support each other.   The Jed Foundation  and Active Minds – Changing the conversation about mental health have made great strides at this, but incorporating these strategies with the right technology could be a game changer in a situation where the student lacks motivation to seek help when they need it the most (as is most often the case).   

Often, students just need someone to listen, but they may not seek this out on their own.  This type of resource would give them a safe space to talk through their feelings.  This may be all some students need.  Others may still need professional services. The goal is that it will help all students find some level of help and encourage the ones who need professional help, to receive it.  Such a program would decrease the volume of need for professional services, while better funneling those who really need the help to that resource.

Read More: Mental Health Tips for Depression and Anxiety

Use technology to create awareness about mental health.

Mental health is an important topic to be aware of, and one that should not be taken lightly. With the rise of technology, discussing mental health has become easier than ever. From social media platforms to messaging apps, there are many ways to create awareness about mental health and get help if needed.

This can be done by creating a dialogue about mental health and providing resources for people who may need them. We must use technology to create awareness about mental health because it can help break the stigma surrounding discussing mental health issues. We can make strides in fighting global depression and anxiety disorders by creating open conversations.

Use technology to connect students to mental health resources.

Depression and anxiety are two mental health conditions that can be difficult to manage. There are many ways to connect students with mental health resources, and technology can be a valuable tool in helping students find the support they need.

One way technology can help connect students with mental health resources is through online forums. Online forums allow people to anonymously share their experiences and get advice from others who have been through similar things. This can be a helpful way for students to explore their feelings and find resources that fit what they’re looking for.

Another way technology can help connect students with mental health resources is by providing information about specific mental health conditions. Mental health conditions can vary a lot, so students must have access to information about all of the different options available to them.

Sites like MindBodyGreen provide detailed information about different mental health conditions, as well as tips on how to cope with them. This information can help students feel more informed about their options and make better decisions about what kind of support they need.

Technology to Solve Mental Health

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 18% of adults in the US experience some form of depression, and about 6% experience anxiety disorders at some point in their lives.

While there is no definitive answer as to why these conditions are so common, a growing body of research suggests that technology can be a powerful tool for helping people with mental health issues.

One reason why technology can be so helpful is that it allows people to connect with others online. This means they can find support and connections with others who share their experiences and struggles. Additionally, online resources provide comprehensive information on how to deal with mental health issues, which can be very helpful for people who don’t have access to professional help.

There are also several apps designed specifically for those with mental health issues. For example, MindBodyGreen’s app offers guided meditation exercises and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) tips for managing anxiety and depression.

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