CAPS application provides mechanism for stress relief

By Emilie Plesset, Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 27, 2014

Overwhelmed students can now find stress-relieving solace through the touch of a button--or a few keystrokes, really.

University Counseling and Psychological Services and its student advisory board launched the Stressbusters Wellness mobile application earlier this month during Winterfest, a student organization fair held in the Michigan Union Jan. 15. The app is currently available for no cost on both iOS and Android phones.

The Wellness app includes many stress-reducing features including those customized for University students. Users can use the app to share daily stress-reducing and emotional health tips and view news alerts, videos and audio tracks that dictate simple stress relieving exercises. The app also includes one-touch emergency buttons, among other features.

“We’re really trying to reach all students to address what is going on underneath all the stress and anxiety,” said CAPS Director Todd Sevig. “We hope this is one part of that overall focus for us.”

The app was produced by the national Stressbusters Wellness program and was customized to meet the needs of college students. The University is among one of the first higher education institutions to adopt the app.

Jordan Friedman, director of the National Stressbusters Wellness program, said the app serves to give students an opportunity to access the organization’s resources.

“Not everyone can come to a Stressbusters event,” Friedman said. “We wanted to be able to get students and staff convenient stress reduction and relaxation resources wherever they are.”

Although the app was developed this year, the idea to bring an app to campus centering on student wellness was initiated by the SAB two years ago.

CAPS and the SAB worked on bringing the app to the University during fall 2013. In preparation for the app’s launch, CAPS collected student-written encouragement messages and made videos with a University-focus on stress management. The app also includes videos created by the national program.

Sevig added that in the future, the app may include pictures of relaxing places on campus in addition to the written messages.

The Wellness app also includes a Health Rewards system that allows students to accumulate points for participating in CAPS programs. Students can redeem points for discounts and University-themed items.

“We have seen increased numbers of students feeling anxiety,” Sevig said. “We’re trying to get creative and address some of the root causing creating stress and anxiety on our campus.”