Students coping with mental health issues have a new University-sponsored resource to turn to: campusmindworks.org.
The new site developed by the University’s Depression Center in partnership with the Division of Student Affairs, aims to provide students with more “live” resources to help them deal with mental health issues.
Developed with the help of students with mental health disorders, the site also features pages with self-care strategies, plans for staying healthy in college and interactive worksheets. It also includes sections on medication and information on how to communicate effectively with professors, according to Melvin McInnis, director of psychiatry programs at the Depression Center.
McInnis said the site was meant to address student complaints that finding information for dealing with mental health issues was often a long and complex process. He said students would get frustrated and give up their search for information when they found dead links and other problems.
“Campus Mind Works simply brings information together in an organized and unified
way that we hope will make things more accessible and expedite the information finding process,” he said.
Rackham student Steve Brunwasser, who helped develop the content of the website, said the site will be constantly redefined based on the student feedback.
“I think (the website) will continue to get better,” he said. “It’s going to be dynamic and I feel that it will never be finished and will be constantly adapting to students needs.”
He added that the site developers plan on continuing to get feedback from comments on the site and focus groups.
“There is no way you can anticipate everything, which is why the feedback is so important,” he said.
McInnis said there’s no hard and fast way to assess the efficacy of the program, since many won’t take the time to fill out a survey about a website. But he said he hopes the number of hits on the site can be an indicator of how successful it is.
“Beyond the sheer number of hits and the amount of time spent on the links we’re very much open to ideas on how to assess it,” he said.
To make sure students know about the site, McInnis said the developers have been making sure that health care providers tell their patients about it. In addition, representatives from the site were at Festifall handing out stress relievers and T-shirts.
McInnis added that he hopes students will hear about the site through another University mental health resource, Mitalk.org. Mitalk is designed to screen for psychological diseases and provide information for people dealing with those issues.
“Mitalk.org might be considered the first folia for a student that is having some issues,” McInnis said. “Mitalk will help the individual potentially develop strategies for everyday problematic things students might run into.”
“If that student is concerned they may have a major depressive disorder,” he continued, “then Campus Mind Works is the website that will help them develop and identify a longer term care program.”
McInnis added that the sites are meant to work in tandem.
“They are meant to work as hand and glove,” he said.