ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — About three quarters of all mental illness cases begin by age 24, and stigma is the number one reason why people don’t seek help. But two friends from the University of Michigan are trying to change that. Ivanhoe has the details.
There’s a mental health crisis on college campuses, and friends Drew Pilat and Jack Kornet are trying to help. They created a gamified app called Wellnest. It’s goal is to tackle mental health issues, through mindfulness, in a fun way.
“So, we think that if we can make mindfulness more fun and engaging, that it will help people actually start doing this. That they can start working on their mental health like they do their physical health,” shared Drew Pilat, co-founder and COO of Wellnest.
The two work with cognitive scientists to evolve the app’s features. There are things like a mood check, a daily conversation, and voice journaling.
User Mac Realo opens it up almost daily.
“I struggle with my mental health on my own daily basis, and there are times that I even struggle with expressing it to other people. So Wellnest offers me the space to be able to reflect and share my thoughts and emotions,” explained Realo.
According to Inside Higher Ed, three in five students are worried about their mental health. And six in ten who sought help said it was difficult to find. The creators say Wellnest fills that void and it’s as simple as opening up apps like YouTube, Netflix and Tik Tok.
“These people who might be struggling with just day to day things that everyone struggles with, our app has been able to make a big improvement in their life and make them feel better about things,” said Jack Kornet, co-founder and chief design officer at Wellnest.
Downloading the app is free but can pay dividends for a lifetime.
Drew and Jack are working with video game designers and a team of psychologists to evolve the look and function of Wellnest.
Contributors to this news report include: Hillary Rubin, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Thaad Sabolboro, Videographer.
WELLNEST APP: MENTAL HEALTH CHECK
BACKGROUND: It is estimated that one in five adults in America experience a mental illness, and nearly one in 25 adults in America live with a serious mental illness. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Mental health involves our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and affects how we think, feel, and act. Our mental health helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. If someone experiences mental health problems, their thinking, mood, and behavior may be affected. There are several factors that contribute to mental health problems including biological factors such as genes or brain chemistry, life experiences such as trauma or abuse, and family history of mental health problems.
COLLEGE STUDENTS AND MENTAL HEALTH: According to the latest Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors survey, 95 percent of college counseling center directors said the number of students with significant psychological problems is a growing concern in their center or on campus. The top presenting concern among college students was anxiety at 42 percent, followed by depression at 36 percent, and relationship problems at 36 percent. The percent of students that were taking psychotropic medications was on average 25 percent. However, just under 20 percent of directors reported the availability of psychiatric services on their campus was inadequate. Several universities have already partnered with Wellnest to offer students and faculty free access to their mindfulness app. The app provides an opportunity for mindful reflection to promote overall wellness and support during difficult times. A content library offers relevant topics to help with social isolation, productivity, happiness, spirituality, and more. It also offers speech-to-text technology, improving the speed and quality of journal entries. And you can even earn Wellnest Gold for journaling and spend it in the shop to customize your new journal.
NEW WAY TO HELP STUDENTS THROUGH A CRISIS: Queens College, in Flushing, New York, is part of the Behavioral Health College Partnership, an innovative mental health program run by Northwell Health, a health care system in New York. They have partnered with more than 77 colleges in the New York metropolitan area to provide behavioral health care tailored to college students’ lives. Their approach starts at the moment of crisis and extends through inpatient care, if needed, including support for the transition back to campus. It’s designed to make it possible for students to get treatment and then reintegrate into their academic life with as little disruption as possible. Laura Braider, a psychologist and director of the Behavioral Health College Partnership says she launched the program with Blaine Greenwald, a psychiatrist at Northwell Health in order to create a more therapeutic approach to handling student breakdowns. “We saw a lack of ability to effectively treat college students in need of care. These students are not adults and not children and need specialized programming to meet their needs,” says Braider.
* For More Information, Contact:
Drew Pilat Jack Kornet
Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up: http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk