Project Proposal: Mental Health in College

Social Justice App:

The app I want to create is to help young adults, those in their teens or twenties learn more about mental health. For the app I would like to have different areas of it where you can get information on different mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, OCD, as well as relationships, how to help a friend with any mental health issue and how to recognize some signs. Mental health seems to have such a negative stigma surrounding it and often times students or other young adults can feel alone or that something is wrong with them, when there really isn’t. I would also like for the app to have access to your location (with your permission) so it can locate offices, help centers, or groups around you that you can go to or contact.

Every university have a counseling center and I would like for information to be easily given to students through the app. They will be able to put in their school and through a search engine it will find that schools counseling services, the location, numbers they can be contacted, hours, and how to schedule an appointment. Again I find it very useful to take advantage of these services while they are still free for students.

Another part of the app would be a calming page. So if someone is having an anxiety or panic attack they can use this page to try and help calm them. The page will have music or sounds that the individual can set, meaning they can pick songs that help calm them and upload them to this part of the page like a playlist. It will also have nature sounds or other calming sounds that are used by professionals to create a calm environment. This part of the app will also have games, or things to read or anything else of that sort that can be used to calm the person and distract their minds just for a little until they can steady themselves and their breathing.

I would also like for it to have a lot of information on different mental disorders so people can easily see if they can relate to some of them. It will give information to the individual and also information to friends and family. How to tell friend and family members, how to cope, and what is normally the best way of dealing with these disorders.

It will also have a hotline page where numbers for suicide hotlines, eating disorder, abusive relationships, drug/alcohol use, and many other hotlines will be listed to contact if needed. This would be more like an emergency page.

It could also have message boards or other ways to talk to others who may be dealing with similar situations. Very often young adults may feel very alone and unsure in their lives and when they face mental health issues it helps so much to have someone else there who understands what you’re going through and to reassure that you’re going to be fine. I may not add this into the app as a message board because it could possibly be used in the wrong way but may try to find another way to try to connect people so they do not feel alone in any of it.

Field Research:

This app idea doesn’t really fit so much with my field research, because I thought of this idea after I did the project. But in a way it can also fit because many college students everyday face or have mental health issues but you would never know, including myself. It’s a larger issue then many seem to know of and much more common in college students.

Visual Design:

For my visual design project I may use a PowerPoint or make a poster board explaining each page and how different information that I want to be in each part of the app.

Time Line:

I plan on doing some more research on the topic and thinking more of how I would want everything to be mapped out as an app. I would like to have each part of the app categorized by group so it is easy to understand on paper.

I am meeting with Kristina DeVoe April 8th and will have an outline of the app done as well as articles to help support the idea.

I will do some field research in Tuttleman Counseling waiting office if I can, just observing the various different types of students who come through.

By the last week of April/ first week of May I plan on completing the paper and other aspects of the project.

 

Sarah W. Whitton, Eliza M. Weitbrecht, Amanda D. Kuryluk, Michael R. Bruner. “Committed Dating Relatopnships and Mental Health Among College Students”.  
Journal of American College Health 
Vol. 61, Iss. 3, 2013

Egan, Katie G, Koff, Rosalind N, Moreno,Megan A. “College Students’ Responses to Mental Health Status Updates on Facebook.” Issues in Mental Health Nursing 34.1 (2013): 46-51. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.

Taylor, Daniel J.Gardner, Christie E.Bramoweth, Adam D.Williams, Jacob M.Roane, Brandy M.Grieser, Emily A.Tatum, Jolyn I. “Insomnia And Mental Health In College Students.” Behavioral Sleep Medicine 9.2 (2011): 107-116. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.

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6 thoughts on “Project Proposal: Mental Health in College”

  1. Hello Emelia,

    Wonderful topic. Going forward I would suggest you do some research on the type of music or nature sounds that you would feature for your Calming Page. Find out which kind of sounds have which effects on the individuals and how that impact happens. I’m sure there is solid research on that sort of thing. (Music Therapy, may be a pit stop for you.)

    If you have the time, I would suggest going to the 4th floor of 1810 Liacouras. I went last week when I was having a stressful time, and was very well received. Also, they have a self-help center where students can peruse through tablets. Any information they find, can be xeroxed for them free of charge.They also use ambient sounds in that particular environment. Another fun fact about that facility is that the persons running the joint are students that are studying.

    They have a lot of means and structure in terms of self help and are super willing to talk. Also, don’t be shy to talk to a counselor about your project as a student. Ask them questions about how they develop their questionnaires, etc. If you’ve already been to the facility then, oops. Sorry, I’m not much help.

    I think offering facts about disorders is extremely helpful. I’m tired of people saying they have OCD and they truly don’t. I think the location feature is useful. I don’t know how applicable the calming page is or isn’t as a feature. Maybe you want to offer them suggestions here as well, like links to other apps. I’m just throwing it out there.

    It seems helpful. Good stuff and best of luck to you.

  2. This is a really great app idea. In addition to the sources you cite and Vanessa’s suggestions above, it might be worth drawing on critical disability studies in your paper. That field has spent a long time critiquing stigma surrounding mental health and will provide a useful theoretical background. Erving Goffman’s book “Stigma” would also be very useful in unpacking the social ostracizing that occurs around mental health concerns. This article might also be useful (http://soc.sagepub.com/content/12/1/23.short).

    I would also like to second, again, Vanessa’s comments above. In developing your design getting in touch with people at Temple who already offer those services will be very helpful to your design.

    Both visual design ideas will work well, just be sure which ever direction you go represents as many aspects of the app as you can.

  3. This is a paramount concept really. I personally feel like students who do their time in major universities not seeking help speaking with a therapist develop bad habits. We spend years at these places tethered to devices that in a way cause our anxieties, all the important emails, the amounts of text messages, and phone calls are just one way college stresses a student out. If there were an app like this, this would be a great way for school administrators to check the mental health of the student body, make adjustments, or provide some assistance where it’s needed. Especially the transition from high school to this large and businesslike atmosphere that is college, where your effort determines your success. It would be or could be the reason why and how student stay focused on achieve their end goals here.

  4. I think this is a great idea for an app! As someone who lives with an anxiety disorder, I think this would be extremely helpful. A few thoughts:

    I’m not sure that a GPS locator would be necessary for you app. Privacy will probably be a concern for many users, so you don’t want to ask for more info that you really need. When people are searching for mental health services, they’re usually looking for something close to their long-term residence, so a ZIP code search engine would probably suffice. Other apps are available to locate hospitals in emergency situations.

    I love the university tie-in. I’ve never been to any of Temple’s services because I feel like I don’t understand how they work. So I end up spending (a lot of) money for professional services when there are free options around. Some students might not have the means to do this, so all of that information would be awesome.

    I like the idea of a calming section, but I don’t know that it would really work for emergency situations. When I’m having a panic attack, my phone is the last thing I’m reaching for, unless it’s to call my mom. Perhaps you could include an emergency contact section, but again, that could become a privacy concern. I think your calming section idea would be better suited for maintenance. There are so many games and such that are developed for brain development — maybe there’s research somewhere about games that help with calming anxiety?

  5. I really like your idea for this app! You are correct in saying that there is a lot of stigma surrounding mental health issues, and that stigma prevents many people from seeking out the help they need. Having all of the information you talked about above in one single app may be very helpful and useful for those who struggle with their mental health. I definitely agree that you speak to those who work at the Tuttleman Counseling to see if they have any recommendations on either further research into critical disability studies or just if they have any ideas on what you should or shouldn’t include in your app. I do like the idea of the calming page, however, as Kyle stated above, I don’t know whether or not it would get a lot of use from people. Perhaps you could do some research and ask others or maybe create an anonymous survey, so that those who don’t want to disclose information about any mental health issues won’t be turned away at the thought of having their name or information shared. Good luck with this, and I’m excited to see how this turns out!

  6. The idea for your application is awesome. I would love to have this app because I have been having more frequently in the last two months. The idea of having comforting music or a game to take their mind of their issues is perfect. I think maybe the app should have some form of a personal contact that can be set up because when I don’t feel good I usually call my brother. He knows how to calm me down. A lot happened early this year the week school started and trying not to freak out, I would go straight home and play my Sims game. Which relaxed me. Maybe adding a basic game of Tetris would work into the app. Adding this to the message board that is completely private and anonymous would be helpful. If you are wary of having it, don’t be. The message board could possibly help a student tell friends about a disorder they have and see what advice other people with the same issue has and how they handled it. It could be a potential guideline to help someone out. I am skeptical talking about my issues with people because of I don’t know how they will handle it and how they will think of me. The idea of using the college setting will open up dialogue between two roommates or a group of friends who aren’t in the loop of mental health issues. Maybe with articles a share button could be added so they can send a SMS or email to their friends to help them gain an understanding of their mental health disorder. Since it’s targeted to teens and young adults, the idea of a GPS search for free to low-income help is great. Maybe that section of the app can show a list and map feature of how close many of the facilities are. Our Temple facilities are very hidden but are located in major foot traffic. Adding book recommendations would also contribute to this app. Including a section on Help Guides and suggesting where one could find materials in the related mental health issues could guarantee success with a lot of users. You should take it a step farther and ask someone in the counseling to watch they demographics of the people who come in and see if they have any ideas of who would use the app and what features could go into it. For your, visual design maybe you should try setting up a slide show detailing each section of your app and the color design. How an average user would use the app. I really like this idea and wish I’ve had it in the last few months. It would have helped me with a lot of issue and knowing I could talk to someone at a moment notice. Think about what you want if you are going through a crisis or in need of help and cannot deal with any longer. This could possibly a solid idea and is worth following through with.

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