- Associated Press - Monday, March 24, 2014

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Can a smartphone app help students feel less isolated and depressed?

University of Michigan thinks so.

In January the Ann Arbor college released an app to promote student wellness and linking students to health-centric events on campus, according to The Ann Arbor News ( https://bit.ly/1ilf98v ).

The app also includes talks and videos aimed at helping students lower stress, news alerts and inspirational messages. For students with an emergency, it has a one-touch dial button that links students directly with a responder.

So far about 1,000 U-M students and affiliates have downloaded the app, which is free. U-M is still marketing the app to students, and the school plans to introduce it to all incoming students and families during freshmen orientation this summer.

“It’s just hard to do publicity, students get inundated with stuff,” said Todd Sevig, director of U-M’s Counseling and Psychological Services. “My hope is 43,000 students download it.”

Students who have downloaded the app can verify when they’ve been to a wellness event, and by going to events - conferences, the counseling center, certain workout arenas - they get reward points, which can be redeemed for rewards, such as free meals.

Sevig hopes that by leveraging technology and responding to college students’ ever-strengthening attachment with their cell phones -79 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds own smartphones according to 2013 Pew survey - it can combat student stress, anxiety and depression.

“Everyone is looking at their phones and tablets,” said Jordan Friedman, of Stressbusters, the developer of the wellness app, which is used at several U.S. universities.

The Stressbusters app is available in Apple’s App Store and Google Play for Android devices.


Information from: The Ann Arbor News, https://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor

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