COVID-19 has become a formidable enemy in the past year, disrupting daily life and causing over 500,000 deaths in the U.S., which has created a sense of fear and anxiety throughout the world. The full extent of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, does not stop there, proving itself to be both a physical and mental threat.
College students have been hit especially hard and many have indicated a surge in stress and anxiety. A significant portion also reported not using therapy or other resources to deal with this newfound stress. UCCS students are no exception.
To combat this trend, UCCS has partnered with SilverCloud Health to provide an online mental health service for students in addition to mental health services offered at the Wellness Center.
SilverCloud is a digital mental health platform available to all students who reside in Colorado Springs, within the zip code range of 80106 – 80997, for free.
According to the informational page, “SilverCloud is a clinically-proven online platform with programs to help you reduce symptoms of stress, improve your sleep and build resilience.”
It is an interactive tool that allows users to track and manage certain mental health issues.
SilverCloud is separated into different modules and programs that cater to a user’s specific needs. The modules teach certain psychological concepts, ones which users can learn, reflect on and apply to their own lives.
The app allows users to journey through modules on their own or with the help of an assigned coach. Coaches are a trained support unit for users, giving them daily reminders, personalizing module plans and providing encouragement through the messaging system.
According to the company, each module is designed to take about 40 minutes to complete. It is further recommended users complete one module per week. These therapeutic programs use evidence-based methods of treatment, which include cognitive behavioral therapy, positive reinforcement and mindfulness.
There is also a module specifically designed to target the adverse mental effects of the ongoing pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that “U.S. adults reported elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19.”
Many Americans are now depressed, leading to increased substance use and elevated suicidal ideations. In late June 2020, 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
The COVID-19 module helps users manage stress and self-care during the pandemic; the stress module teaches users how to overcome and manage stressors; the resilience module aids in enhancing the user’s wellbeing and building work life balance; and there is a sleep module that helps formulate a healthier sleep schedule.
Aside from the programs, the app is equipped with specific widgets to help users with their mental health and wellbeing, featuring a built-in journal, a mood monitor and an activities manager.
To register, students will need to use the access code “GRIT2020” and their UCCS email account for free access. Students can then navigate to the SilverCloud website and sign up for any of their targeted programs.
Once a password is created, users will then have direct usage of the modules through the site from any electronic device.