The UCA Counseling Center launched WellTrack this fall, a Web page that helps students determine if they need professional help.
Students can access the website at signup.mywelltrack.com and use the access code “UCACC” to create an account.
“We are hoping that it is a self-help way for students to address some of their needs,” Counseling Center Director Susan Sobel said. “It will help people who don’t want to come to the counseling center because they are too busy or because of the stigma.”
Sobel said launching this program is an attempt to address the increase in suicide attempts in past years, as well as a medium to offer other outreach programs including peer counseling and boot camps.
“On the whole, I believe that students are more stressed than students 10 or 20 years ago,” Coordinator of Outreach Programming Reesa Ramsahai said. “Not having enough downtime and sleep can increase stress, anxiety and symptoms related to depression.”
After creating an account, the program lets students take an assessment determining their distress level. If a student tests in a significant range, he will receive information regarding resources for professional help.
A mood tracker is provided to guide what activities are related with bad moods versus good moods. It also gives students intervention courses over mood and depression, anxiety, social phobias and other issues.
The website is confidential and reports no information to the counseling center. The counseling center is currently working on a faculty-staff component for the website.
The counseling center currently only sees about 10 percent of the UCA population. Sobel said the reasons students, faculty and staff do not get professional help can vary from fear of social stigmas, believing they can handle the issue themselves or not knowing they need help.
Most counseling center clients face issues involving anxiety, depression and relationships. Sobel said students should be able to handle large amounts of responsibility without stress, and that it’s problematic if they cannot.
“It actually means you’re human, because it’s not effortless,” Sobel said.
She said students should seek help when they struggle to do normal activities and lack a strong support system.
“Sometimes they just need a perspective from someone that is objective,” Sobel said. “If [what you’re doing]is not working, then try something different and this may be the difference.”
The counseling center has seen an increase in clients in recent years. The biggest increase occurred between spring 2013 to spring 2014, which saw a 4.7 percent increase. From spring 2014 to fall 2015, it saw a .73 percent increase.
The counseling center works on a brief therapy model that includes 10 free sessions during the school year. It offers five senior staff members, a psychiatrist and six interns and practicum students. Students can come in for a consultation (without becoming a client) and then choose a course of direction.
The counseling center also offers walk-in counseling during its open hours and has a counselor on call for crisis situations during the evenings and weekends.
The counseling center is located on the third floor of the Student Health Center and is open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m-5:30 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
This article originally appeared in the Sep. 23, 2015 print edition of The Echo.
image via mywelltrack.com