UM Counseling Center offers new app to promote mental health

Photo credit: Courtesy the UM Counseling Center

The University of Miami Counseling Center announced Oct. 26 that they will be offering a new online service for students 一 WellTrack, an interactive self-help and therapy app that will allow students to receive counseling on the go.

Dr. Rene Monteagudo, director of the counseling center, said the WellTrack app will give students immediate access to tools that control anxiety and depression.

“When students are struggling with how they are feeling, I always encourage them to reach out to others and talk about what is going on with them,” said Monteagudo. “That can be with a friend, family member and in some cases with counselors at the counseling center. WellTrack can be a tool in your tool box of things you reach out to when seeking support.”

WellTrack seeks to help students tackle anxiety and depression through the use of different tools and services. The app includes a “MoodCheck” feature that reminders users to track their feelings throughout the day, allowing them to better understand what affects their moods in positive and negative ways.

Additionally, WellTrack has a virtual “Zen Room” that encourages students to customize a meditation experience and learn the practices of deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. There is also a public speaking course that aims to alleviate anxiety around presentations and speeches.

Julia Wilson, a sophomore at UM and a member of the Counseling Outreach Peer Education program, said the new app will allow students to monitor themselves. Its convenience will make it easier for students who can’t or won’t go to the counseling center, she said.

“I think it will help because it breaks down depression, anxiety and stress,” Wilson said. “It tells you if you’re fine, mildly or extremely anxious, and has different activities and quizzes to help with that. It’ll help people be more self aware of when they need to slow down and adjust.”

Wilson said although getting an appointment with the counseling center is fairly easy, finding the time to actually get there can be challenging for students, especially those with a heavy course load. She said WellTrack can prevent minor issues from snowballing into major struggles because it grants students access to help in the palm of their hands.

Clementine Talmage, a sophomore business major, said she thinks WellTrack could act as a stepping stone towards controlling students’ everyday anxieties.

“I feel like there’s way too many people who are always saying how freaked out about things they are, and they’re going into a head spin about stuff,” said Talmage. “Its unhealthy and there’s so many people turning to different sorts of drugs to either relax or to amplify their brain.”

Hopefully, WellTrack will provide students with healthier coping mechanisms, Talmage said.

The app is available on the iTunes store and the Google Play store. Other universities across the country have also started to offer WellTrack to their students, including Boston College and Vanderbilt University.

Although WellTrack can be a useful mental-health tool, Dr. Monteagudo said students should not use it as a replacement for professional care. He encouraged students to walk into the counseling center during regular business hours or call 305-284-5511 to access a counselor after-hours, in addition to using WellTrack.