UMSL offers mental health support through Sanvello app

by | Mar 26, 2020

Sanvello provides 24/7 access to mental health support and supplements other mental wellness initiatives offered by the Division of Student Affairs.
Sanvello app

Sanvello promotes mental health and wellness through tools like guided meditation and a daily mood tracker. Students, faculty and staff can access the app at no cost. (Photo by Karen Holman)

The thought of an impending presentation can send a chill through some college students and set off a long list of anxiety-induced questions: What if I mess up? Will the audience be able to tell I’m nervous? Will they laugh at me?

Public speaking is a challenge everyone must face, even though doing so can cause a good deal of stress. Other common stressors include difficulty studying, health issues, unfamiliar social situations and hectic schedules.

Students at the University of Missouri–St. Louis have a new tool to help them cope with stressful situations. Sanvello, a mobile app that promotes mental health and wellness, is available at no cost for students, faculty and staff.

Based on cognitive behavioral therapy and mindful meditation, Sanvello offers tools such as guided meditation, mood tracking and goal setting to help users cope with stress, anxiety and depression.

“It helps people gain more mindfulness around their mental health and well-being,” said D’Andre Braddix, associate vice provost for Student Affairs. “The great thing is that it’s customizable and really specific to different circumstances. Before you give a presentation in class, you can listen to a 10-minute meditation on being mindful about how you’re going to present yourself. There’s also one for flying. People can gain some valuable skills if they get into the app and really immerse themselves in it.”

Last March, officials from the University of Missouri System began discussing ways to increase mental health support at the four universities. They recommended Sanvello during a presentation at a Board of Curators meeting in June. The board approved funding for the app that day, and it became available across the UM System in the spring semester.

In addition to UMSL, members of the University of Missouri–Columbia, University of Missouri–Kansas City and Missouri University of Science and Technology communities can access the app using their university-related email address.

The vast number of tools available through the Sanvello app include a daily mood tracker that shows trends over time, notifications that remind users to take time for their mental health and an online community that connects Sanvello users.

“There are limits to counseling services and other various clinics on campus in terms of being instantly available, but this app provides that on-demand social support that is so needed,” Braddix said. “If it’s in the middle of the night, you can connect with the larger community to say, ‘Hey, I’m having this problem. Who else?’ You can do that through this app 24/7.”

Providing access to a mental health app is part of Student Affairs’ focus on mental health and wellness. The initiative comes in response to the increasing number of UMSL students seeking mental health support and serves as a supplement to counseling.

It’s all part of the department’s goal to educate the UMSL community about mental health and connect individuals with the resources they need. Student Affairs also offers RESPOND training for faculty and staff. It’s designed to help familiarize them with mental health issues and potential warning signs.

“Mental health concerns can affect all of us,” Braddix said. “They can absolutely be an impediment or a barrier to your success – your academic success, your work success, etc. Being mentally well and more mindful of your mental health is really important in order to make sure you’re staying as healthy as you can to be the most effective that you can be.”

To access a premium Sanvello account at no cost, students, faculty and staff must sign in with their university-related email address.

Click here to download Sanvello for Apple.

Click here to download Sanvello for Android.

Karen Holman

Karen Holman