Our health is a multi-dimensional concern. Not only do we need to worry about our physical health, but mental health should also be an essential focus. On campus at Drexel University, students can address both components of their health at the University Recreation Center.
The school recently installed a new MindKare mental health-screening kiosk in the University Recreation Center. “The goal was to demonstrate the importance of mental health and show that Drexel is a driving force behind it and that the university and the officials here really care about the day-to-day life of the student body,” said Bryan Ford, director of recreation at Drexel University. “Hopefully students do not get too overwhelmed but if they do there are resources for them on campus.”
The MindKare kiosk provides a simple self-assessment to determine each users’ risk for six different metal health issues: anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, substance abuse or eating disorders.
The assessment begins with basic questions to establish a general idea of what the student is looking for. Some example questions might include: “Have you been feeling overwhelmed?” or “are you having trouble sleeping?” This filters users into broad-based categories to determine whether the user is worried about depression, anxiety, drinking habits, etc.
Next the assessment will move into more specific questions to evaluate if the user is at risk. “If someone clicks on something that indicates they are at risk for suicide, there is a box that pops up with on-campus resources they can speak with and also national resources available 24/7 that they can reach out to,” explained Kathryn Formica, assistant director of recreation for health, fitness and wellness.
At the end of the assessment, the kiosk provides a summary of the results, as well as references or suggestions for further treatment, such as visiting the counseling center or speaking with someone to alleviate their concerns.
With more than 700,000 people coming through the recreation center each year, it seemed like the perfect location to place the kiosk in order to reach the masses. “We wanted to make a point to integrate mental health with physical health because those things go hand in hand and can help each other so much,” added Formica. “Whether it is physical health alleviating some of the mental stress or vise versa, we can get students to understand that both are equally important.”
When it comes to addressing mental health and providing resources to students, Ford stresses the importance of collaboration. “It is not just one department that handles mental health, assess it and helps to treat it,” said Ford. “It takes the entire university to be a driving force behind it, believe in it and be able to come up with programming, assessments and different ways to reach out to students.”