Upchurch creates mental health app for students – The Hawkeye

Positivity + gives students coaching, therapy

What do Chick-Fil-A and a mental health app have in common? The need for consistency.

“When you go to Chick-Fil-A […] you know that every time you go there you can expect good service, ”said Daniel Upchurch, assistant professor of psychology. “However, when they do something that isn’t great […] this decreases your chances of going or wanting to go.

Upchurch said these are the same feelings students have when they don’t get consistency from a mental health coach or therapist.

“Students want someone to talk to, and if they can trust you enough, they need that consistency,” Upchurch said. “Because if they don’t get this consistency, they withhold the information […] which can inconvenience the customer.

In the Upchurch research project on college retention, he found that by focusing on the stressors students face in school and providing them with resources to reduce the effect of these stressors. stress, retention rates increased.

After his project, he knew he had to find a way for the students to deal with the stressors they faced in college.

That’s when he saw the vision of an app that could do just that.

He went to his best friend, a computer scientist, and asked him for help.

They began to formulate a mental health app for the sole purpose of using guidance coaching and therapy to help students deal with issues before they became a problem.

It was then that they created Positivity +.

According to their website, Positivity + is a tele-mental health app that provides affordable support, coaching, and therapy to students through a user-friendly app.

On Positivity +, students can schedule in-app sessions with a coach near them to meet their specific needs. These needs can be anything, going somewhere on campus, translating something into Spanish, or helping with mental health.

Coaches help students solve their problems using a variety of therapeutic techniques so that students can learn ways to deal with similar future problems on their own.

Positivity + is unique because the application requires consistency from coaches and students.

Although it has only officially been an app for four months, it has been very successful.

According to Upchurch, the app works at four different universities. They can see the difference this has made in the lives of many students.

Of the students who would need the app the most through their university, 90% continued the sessions through the app and saw the benefits.

The app was presented to the American Psychiatric Association and people were thrilled.

They also got a contract that allowed them to bring the app to more audiences while providing more resources to clients.

William McCown, director of the College of Business and Social Sciences, said he shared with a professional organization the main apps to use for mental health issues or personal counseling. Upchurch’s app is at the top of its game.

“The best [apps] are the ones based on science and our understanding of what makes people tick, ”McCown said. Dr. Upchurch’s app is science-based, but it goes beyond most mental health apps because it has a larger audience, helps students connect in a positive way, and […] it provides useful information.

Kate Bower, a junior psychology student, said she sees the benefits of the app and would use it herself if she didn’t already have a therapist.

“Let’s be honest, being a student is crazy […] between school, work and maintaining a social life, it can be difficult to make the time you need for yourself, ”said Bower. “An application like Positivity + can help a lot [because] it works with your individual schedule and it’s so important.

Upchurch said that was the purpose of the app. They want to help students weather any storm they face, regardless of their size.

“I have never seen a storm stay with an individual for 20 years. I can walk outside, maybe it rained earlier this morning, but it didn’t stay, ”Upchurch said. “This is how we see the problems. They never stay.

Positivity + plans to expand in the United States in the coming years.

They also discuss with ULM officials that this is potentially a resource available to ULM students.


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