This article originally ran in May 2021.
The Division of Student Affairs, led by the University Counseling Center, continues to innovate to provide students with support from a broad spectrum of mental health and wellness resources. Among those innovations are the downloadable app Nod and the online platform You@Utah that work in tandem to offer users research-backed ideas and tips for building social connections in college.
“These new platforms empower students to take ownership of their mental health and wellness and bridge the gap when reaching out for counseling for the first time,” said Lauren Weitzman, director, University Counseling Center. “These offerings are intended as additional support modalities that students can carry around with them at all times, whenever they need them.”
Privacy is key
The university and these platforms recognize the importance of protecting student privacy while also providing dynamic tools that students will benefit from. All accounts created are encrypted when accessing Nod and You@Utah. There is no way of tracking individual use or responses, creating an environment in which students can feel safe being honest and exploring sensitive topics.
About the Nod app
Nod is like a workout app for social goals. Humans may be social creatures, but that doesn’t mean making social connections is always easy. Students across the country are having difficulty connecting and are experiencing increased social isolation. Roughly 80% of surveyed students said they have felt lonelier since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unlike social media apps that focus on content sharing and facilitating meeting people, Nod is all about individual goal setting. It uses science-backed skill-building challenges and personal reflection exercises to break social goals down into achievable steps.
Nod supports students in building social connections in three ways:
- Ideas: Prompts based on the science of social connection that help them take action.
- Reflections: Short in-app exercises that help students process social experiences, track their mood, reduce self-criticism and build resilience to keep progressing toward their social goals.
- Testimonials: Hear perspectives on social connection from real students to better understand the ups and downs that can be experienced along the way.
Even though many aspects of our culture portray forming friendships as a piece of cake, the reality is it takes time and effort and can be downright challenging at times. Nod is here to help. It’s fun, backed by science and can get students on track to find the meaningful connections they want and deserve as part of the college experience.
Download Nod in the App Store or Google Play to get started.
About the You@Utah platform
The You@Utah online portal is designed to help students explore their strengths, manage stress, set goals, promote happiness and well-being and connect to campus resources to “thrive, succeed and matter.”
The portal fosters student success in three domains:
- Thrive: Physical/mental health
- Succeed: Academics/career
- Matter: Purpose/community/social connections
The portal serves up relevant information and campus resources and the content becomes personalized when a student builds their profile, completes brief assessments or searches for something specific. There also is a built-in function for students to set goals and check them off as they go. U faculty and staff are able to explore the You@Utah resource as well.
University of Utah students can create a completely confidential account with their campus credentials and begin exploring the portal today. Here are just a few of the things that You@Utah can help with immediately:
- Tips to adjust to online learning
- Coping with stress and anxiety in a changing world
- Maintaining and growing social connections even while practicing physical distancing
Every student, staff and faculty member is encouraged to focus on their well-being during this challenging time. New content is being added to You@Utah on a weekly basis to help support all members of our community.
Sign up with your campus credentials and start the path to better mental health today.
Any currently enrolled U student may request an intake appointment at the University Counseling Center by calling 801-581-6826. Telephone crisis services are available at the same number. For after-hours emergencies, contact the 24/7 Crisis Lines: 801-587-3000.