January 15 is known as Blue Monday and is referred to as the “most depressing day of the year.” While the science of Blue Monday is questionable, the science and research into mental health is extensive.
Help is available through a new app introduced by York University. The app is a free, online daily well-being management tool known as WellTrack® and it is being offered to all York University students, staff and faculty.
The University has purchased enough licenses for all community members to access a free online self-help program that promotes daily well-being management. It can assist with depression, anxiety, stress, and phobias (e.g., fear of heights), and can be easily and conveniently accessed. WellTrack® is not an emergency service or for use when experiencing acute mental health crises.
Users of WellTrack® simply select the module(s) of interest, and the information and resources (such as the relaxation tools) are easily accessed from any device at any time. The WellTrack® courses are designed to offer services similar to what an individual would receive if they were receiving Computerized Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CCBT) face-to-face with a counsellor or clinical psychologist.
Each user takes a brief survey to identify their needs and is then provided with a customized course of therapy. Twice a day, users will be prompted to engage with WellTrack® to assess their mood through MoodCheck. Other helpful tools include thought diaries, activity schedulers, and progressive muscle relaxation exercises.
“Using the MoodCheck part of the tool the last few months has been very helpful,” said Stephanie Francis, coordinator, Health Education & Promotion, Student Success Centre. “Tracking my mood at different times of the day helped me to realize my commute was adding stress to my day and was having a negative impact on my mental health. After seeing this, I took the time to find a new transit route to and from campus, which now allows me to be in a better mood when I arrive at work and home.”
It can also be accessed through web browser and downloaded as an app in devices app stores, and is 100 per cent confidential. This initiative support York’s Mental Health Strategy, which aims to promote mental health and wellness across campus, and provides an integrated approach to health and well-being.
WellTrack® is being used by a number of universities and colleges across Canada.
How to use WellTrack®
• York students who wish to use the tool can create an account using their York email or any email and the access code: YORK.
• York Employees who wish to use the tool can create an account using the access code: YORKEMPLOYEE.