Campus News

UHS to provide 24/7 mental health program to campus

SilverCloud, released in October, is a self-guided, interactive program intended to provide students with behavioral therapy techniques to be able to address their concerns related to anxiety, depression, stress and body image.

Image By: Photo courtesy of University Health Services

About two years after a survey revealed that 22 percent of UW-Madison students had sought mental health counseling in the past year, University Health Services released an online mental health service program for students and faculty.

SilverCloud, released in October, is a self-guided, interactive program intended to provide students with behavioral therapy techniques to be able to address their concerns related to anxiety, depression, stress and body image, according to UHS Mental Health Services co-director Andrea Lawson.

Lawson said that within the subcategories of anxiety, depression, stress and body image, users can complete modules ranging from informative lessons that describe how someone can deal with a particular issue to interactive activities that allow users to create worksheets highlighting personal goals or thoughts about their problems

Due to the varying number of modules, which tend to last an average of 40 minutes, Lawson suggested a user complete one module per week in a given category but said the sessions can be completed at any pace — even when a user is currently dealing with an issue.

“You can log onto the program if you are having an issue,” Lawson said. “If you are having a panic attack, you can log into the anxiety program, and they have mindfulness meditation support and other things you can do and be reminded of in the moment so you can [get help].”

According to Lawson, the idea for the program stemmed from the trend of an increasing number of students needing mental health services over the last five years.

She said that while the new program is not intended to replace in-person therapy, one of the main goals of the program was to reach students who were dealing with mental health issues but not going to UHS for help.

“We wanted to find a way to extend the reach of the counseling center to students wherever they are, whenever they need it,” Lawson said.

In addition to providing users with suggestions about how to deal with anxiety or depression, the program can also track a user’s recorded feelings and explain to them how to get in-person help if there are “higher concerns,” Lawson said.

“We really see the program as an extension of our services,” Lawson said. “We hope that our services can meet the needs of all students on campus, and this is one of the gaps that we found that we really wanted to fill.”

Students or faculty who wish to access the free program can do so at uhs.wisc.edu/silvercloud.

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