USI have developed a student mental health app that enables students to find and access mental health services to meet their needs. It also has information on starting a conversation about mental health and a student blog.
The app has three primary functions:
- Provide a signposting service for students and increase awareness of services available to support their mental health. The mapping service links into the GPS on phones and can direct students to the location of the service. It also provides email and phone contacts for the services. Information was gathered and checked through local SUs – on campus services mapped include student health centres, counselling, chaplaincy, disability and students’ unions. External organisations mapped include Jigsaw, Pieta House and Rape Crisis Centres. Four helpline numbers have also been included (Samaritans, Pieta House, Rape Crisis Centre and LGBT Helpline). A lot of thought was put into the decision of what services were to be included and we did not want to overwhelm students with too many services and helplines but feel the ones we picked cover a wide range of issues from early intervention to suicide prevention as well as specialised services.
- Inform students about starting a conversation around mental health. This includes information on approaching a friend if you are worried about their mental health or your own. This section also has information on what to do in the case of an emergency. Having a conversation around mental health, whether it is about you, or someone you care about can be a bit daunting. However, these are important conversations that we all need to have. This app has been created to help you start a conversation around mental health and to signpost to services that available to you, if needed. It covers areas such as active listening skills, top tips and what to do when the conversations doesn’t quite go to plan. This is the only advice/guidance in the app and has been approved by a clinical psychologist.
- Host a student mental health blog. This is a space where students can read about and discuss mental health and how it relates to themselves. This blog is about sharing experiences of mental health and forming sort of a peer support element to the app. This is an area that we hope to expand on in the future. We would really love to get more input from students in terms of the blog so please help us speed the word, we encourage you to submit something and tell others to do so too!