BYU offers subscription to self-help mental health app

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BYU Counseling and Psychological Services recently made a mental health app accessible for BYU students. The Sanvello app is free to BYU students who use their student email to set up a new account. Sanvello allows students to access meditation walk-throughs and Spotify playlists while also keeping track of daily mood changes.

A screenshot from Sanvello. (Sanvello)

Klint Hobbs, assistant clinical professor and psychologist at BYU, talked about some of the features offered through this app. He compared this new app to SilverCloud — a system that has been offered at BYU for some time.

Hobbs explained that while SilverCloud is more in-depth and focuses on existing mental health issues, Sanvello takes a slightly different approach.

“Sanvello is an app that I think more promotes mental health,” Hobbs said. “If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, it can help with that. But it also can help you stay very mentally healthy.”

One of Sanvello’s app features not supported through CAPS is the function that allows users to connect with their therapists through the app.

“We don’t actually do that here at BYU. And there are a lot of different reasons that we don’t,” Hobbs said. “If you’re a client of ours, if you’re coming in for services, we’re already tracking you through a number of different things that we do.”

With a layout different from the simpler user interface in SilverCloud, Hobbs said it takes some “exploring” to get to know the Sanvello app.

BYU senior Madison Tirrell commented on the difference between SilverCloud and Sanvello’s displays after glancing at screenshots from both apps.

“It’s more confusing, I guess, to navigate. It just feels like there’s a lot going on,” Tirrell said. “I think I like the colors and layout more of the SilverCloud; it feels a lot more clean. And I feel like (Sanvello) kind of stresses me out.”

Brandon Condie, clinical mental health counselor and Clear Counseling and Consulting founder, said the overwhelming nature of the user interface is a shortcoming of the Sanvello app. However, he also said the app is close to achieving what seems to be it’s intended purpose.

Hobbs said using the app has its benefits, but it is not a replacement for those who need professional counseling. He explained that if the person’s mental health state doesn’t improve or gets worse after using the app, its a sign that they need to seek professional help.

A screenshot from SilverCloud. (SilverCloud)

SilverCloud and Sanvello can often be used while waiting for consultations, as appointments are required for counseling.

Hobbs clarified that even though wait times can be long, students who are truly in need of counseling can find it. If there is a long wait and students are in urgent need, they are often referred to therapists outside BYU to get counseling.

Outside of counseling, Hobbs said the best thing to do as finals week approaches is to eat, sleep and exercise properly.

“Those are the three things that really will help prime you to perform at your peak. Those are also the three things during finals week that everybody cuts out,” Hobbs said. “The more you neglect those things, the harder it’s going to be to control your emotions, your mood, and the more likely you are to feel stressed out, anxious and depressed. And that’s where, maybe especially, Sanvello can be helpful — kind of establishing a state of relaxation so that you can get to sleep just like that. And I think that all can be helpful.”

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