A mobile app to support mental health might seem a little abstract. How does it work, and how can TalkCampus help? We asked our peer support advisers to walk us through the app and share their experience.
With the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, from border closures to stay-at-home restrictions to online learning, it's important to acknowledge the strain that it’s putting on all of us. Now more than ever we need to make sure we're taking care of ourselves – both mind and body.
The University has a range of counselling and mental health support available, including individual counselling and self-help webinars, but sometimes you might just really need to talk to somebody who knows what you're going through. This is where TalkCampus comes in.
TalkCampus is an app you can download to your phone, it’s a 24/7 peer-support social network designed to improve mental wellbeing by offering a safe space for students to share their struggles and support one another anonymously.
It’s an online community to simply talk it out – without judgement, and with students around the world who are in the same boat as you, so you don’t struggle alone.
"But I can just talk to my friends"
"I already have so many apps on my phone, why do I need this one?"
"This sounds very abstract, how does it actually work?"
It’s natural to have questions, especially when it concerns your mental health, so we asked our peer support advisers, who are also current students, to download the app and run through a first-hand and honest review of TalkCampus.
‘Like an anonymous Facebook group,’ Yilin Zhang says. It’s easy to see the comparison, the app allows you to talk to peers any time of the day, anywhere in the world, except you have the option to post and chat anonymously.
‘It is anonymous so I will not be shy to share my story, there are many comments under each post, everyone is willing to support others,’ Yilin adds. ‘You can share your ups and downs with others and listen to other’s stories.’
Benny Shen echoes this sentiment – he sees a real potential for valuable conversation and connection being made through the app.
‘Login was smooth and nice to know a captcha prevents there from being bots,’ Frank Fei says.
“I appreciate that the app has distinct topics of interest to filter and select from, the ability to join groups, private messaging, and very useful resources like the helpline information and wellness centre!’ shares Nikita Husein.
The option to filter conversations seems to be the bonus point for several users. ‘I liked the option to hide and filter topics we were not comfortable with,’ Frank adds.
Nikita says the filter function allows her to easily find other students who are also going through the same struggles.
I think the public forum style of the app was really confronting in a good way. It shows students how many other students are feeling different emotions in response to certain situations and shows them that they are not alone.
‘The UI layout is super clean and minimalistic, and it’s really easy and modern,’ Frank says.
“I enjoy the design and colour as well, I personally find it very pretty!’ Nikita adds.
‘It was easy to navigate, and the posting process was straightforward. Just like most social media, each icon is easy to understand, and I believe students are able to use it easily,’ Tian Qian says.
Frank says he would recommend this app for any students who enjoy being with others to talk about their problems, and it’s a great supportive and safe platform for them to do so.
For students experiencing an acute cause of stress, such as a difficult exam or unexpected change, the app can be used to immediately reach out and talk through these struggles with other students.
‘I can see the app being useful temporarily for providing one an outlet,’ Frank says.
For Nikita, she sees herself using the app long-term to help her navigate university, ‘I am able to talk in an open and vulnerable manner about my mental health experiences, which is not something I am able to find on other social media platforms or from day-to-day Zoom classes.’
Tian reflects on a recent encounter she had on the app, ‘I have posted a message about my stress at midnight, and I received a lot of warm messages in 30 minutes, reading those messages made me feel better and more confident. It's great that TalkCampus can offer 24/7 support.’
‘The app is good for long term use if students would like to get some encouragement as you will always get supportive messages instantly,’ Tian adds.
“Especially in the context of lockdown and border closures, it provides a sense of belonging and community,” says Benny.