Mobile App Gives Counseling Center Another Way To Improve Campus Mental Health

Thursday, February 20, 2020
Phone screen with Sanvello app opened

Late last semester, Rockhurst University’s Counseling Center unveiled a new tool in the effort to provide mental health care to members of the campus community.

Sanvello is a mobile app now available on Android and iOS operating systems free to anyone in the campus community who signs up using their Rockhurst email address. For users, who start by building a personalized profile and dashboard, Sanvello offers options including a mood tracker, guided meditations, playlists, and articles related to mental health. Notifications check in on users or remind them of their goals.

“There are a lot of different options, and it’s all customizable,” said Elbert Darden, Ph.D., director of the counseling center. “This is something that we had been wanting to provide for a while now.”

The app is not meant to replace the individual and group therapy or consultations that the center provides to faculty, staff and students. But Darden said Sanvello can help fill in between sessions, help patients track their own progress, or provide access to additional resources to help users who might need to re-center on a tough day.

Darden said it’s increasingly important to provide something that can complement existing counseling center services. Across the nation, colleges and universities are experiencing increasing demand for additional mental health services. And Rockhurst is no exception.

“We’ve had unprecedented levels of requests,” he said. “We will always be there for our clients when they need us. However, Sanvello is another tool that we can offer people who might not require counseling on an ongoing basis, but for whom additional help can make a difference.”

It’s all made possible by Believe Kansas City, an employee initiative at AT&T announced this summer aimed at supporting innovative, collaborative and technology-focused approaches to mental health awareness and suicide prevention among young people. Rockhurst University received funding through Believe Kansas City not only to offer Sanvello for free to the campus community, but also to fund programming throughout the year from Active Minds, a student group focused on reducing the stigma around mental health.

To that end, since being introduced Darden said a number of students, faculty and staff have signed up for Sanvello.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback,” he said.