From the Editor: MyWellness Isn’t up to snuff for suffering KPU students
Columns / October 6, 2018
Seeking help when your mental health is faltering is hard enough. Once you take that step, being met with insufficient resources can be a huge setback, one that potentially determines whether your well-being will be on the upswing or downswing.
The MyWellness app adopted by the Kwantlen Student Association and offered through its health and dental plan is designed to allow students to complete an assessment on their mental state and connect with professionals well-suited to their needs.
Unfortunately, it only accomplishes the former.
When you get to the MyWellness landing page, you have to select your school before being redirected to a home site. The first thing you’ll see there is a big green button that reads “start my assessment”, along with a series of tabs under “your support resources” labelled “video counselling”, “campus support”, “suicide prevention”, “crisis lines”, and “find a doctor”.
As a testament to the app’s lack of efficiency, the “find a doctor” tab links exclusively to the directory for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. Why it wouldn’t take users to a new page full of local, affordable, mental health-specific options around KPU campuses is beyond me.
The tabs also redirect to a series of other services; for video counselling, you’ll end up on Inkblot Therapy’s website. For your assessment, you’ll end up on FeelingBetterNow. You have to make a seperate account for each of these services, and Inkblot even has you complete a second assessment despite encouraging users to attach their existing FeelingBetterNow assessment to their profile.
It’s exhausting and redundant. A comprehensive list of local, vetted professionals who offer a student discount, along with contacts for peer services and on-campus counselling, would be far better and easier to use. The site has almost nothing that’s exclusive to KPU students, which is a shame. The sheer amount of unnecessary information cluttering each resource page makes it that much harder to find what students in crisis might need but may not have the mental energy to pursue.
Somehow, this app is award-winning. If there’s a trick to using it that boosts its usefulness, the KSA ought to be educating students who pay for their health and dental plan about that. Otherwise, using the app without direction yields very little benefit.
Though the app fails to connect students directly with individuals who can help them at a rate that’s reasonable for low-income folks, it can certainly be validating for some to get confirmation that the way they feel is diagnosable in a medical sense. The assessment tool provides that. In addition, up to $500 in mental health practitioner-related fees is covered per student. Those dollars pile up fast when you’re paying the hourly rate to see a doctor, but it’s a whole lot better than nothing.
The resources listed on the app are useful—they’re just generic and easily accessible elsewhere. The counselling on campus takes a while to get into but it is there, and crisis lines are always open to those in need.
Thinking clearly can be difficult if your head is clouded by anxiety, depression, or another disorder that’s getting in the way of your happiness. It goes to reason, then, that a website meant to help students with specifically those obstacles should be user-friendly and straightforward. The resources provided on it should be as immediate and easy to access as possible.