Feb 19, 2021 | NEWS | By Bella Staal | Illustration by Bibi Powers
Last Wednesday, Colorado College Communications sent out an email announcing the launch of the Wellness Resource Center’s new website, YOU. The website, reads the email, is “your space to check in with yourself, set goals, and explore personalized resources created specifically for the students at Colorado College.”
“The YOU platform is something that my office has been looking at for a number of years,” Heather Horton, the Director of the Wellness Resource Center, said. “The fact that our students have been spread out across the country and the globe was a final impetus to setting it up for CC.”
Although created by the third-party GRIT Digital Health, YOU’s features are CC-specific, connecting students to resources provided by the WRC and other groups on campus. Once logged in, students have the option to choose areas of improvement in their life, separated into three categories.
The first category is titled “Succeed”, which focuses on one’s success in academics and career. The second, “Thrive”, is related to physical, mental and emotional well-being, and the last category, “Matter”, targets purposefulness “in your relationships, communities, and in the world.”
“One of the things that really appeals to me about it,” Horton said, “is that each student’s experience with the site is personalized based on their interests and needs.” Within each of the three areas, Succeed, Thrive, and Matter, students can choose to follow suggested goals with ready-made steps or to create their own goals.
One piece of advice noted in the “Thrive” section was to de-stress, so some of the suggested goals included “try different types of meditation for one week” and “seven-day challenge: break reliance on social media.”
As noted on the platform, the chances of someone achieving a goal are increased when they write it down. This phenomenon has been studied by psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews from the Dominican University of California, who found that writing down your goals makes it 42% more likely that you achieve them.
In addition to the goal-setting part of the website, the home and explore pages both offer a multitude of resources. These include links to programs on campus, as well as online articles from other websites that offer advice on many subjects related to well-being. For example, some articles suggested on the home page include one on burnout and how to avoid it, and another on how to file taxes as a college student.
The introduction of the YOU website is timely. Numerous studies in the past year have come out detailing the concerning effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the mental health of adolescents and young adults.
A report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention published on Aug. 14, 2020 found that “during June 24-30, 2020, U.S. adults reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19. Younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation.”
Of course, Horton notes, the effectiveness of the platform will depend on whether or not students choose to use it. “Setting up your profile will be the most important step students can take,” she said, and “the best resource is worthless if you don’t actually use it.”