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Campus & Community

On the Well Track

Counseling Center Adds Five Positions, Self-Help App

By Colleen Crowley M.Jour. ’19


Illustration by Kelsey Marotta

Illustration by Kelsey Marotta

We rely on our phones for the latest information on our bank accounts, commutes and friends. Now a new app offered by the UMD Counseling Center makes it easier to take an active role in addressing your mental health. 

WellTrack, available for free to students, is meant to provide on-the-go coping mechanisms, like a progressive relaxation program, a virtual zen room and a mood checker. 

“For students who may not need to come to the Counseling Center, they now have a self-help mobile app where they can get information and useful tools and strategies for coping with symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress,” said Sharon Kirkland-Gordon, director of the Counseling Center. “Of course, this is not a substitute for treatment, but they are helpful tools for many people.” 

The app is one of several additions this fall at the Counseling Center as it works to meet the mental-health needs of students—online and in person. It has hired two new staff psychologists and filled a prior vacancy. Two triage counselors will also be hired to run a new emergency department-style intake area to improve student access. The new triage model provides immediate access for students seeking services, including those who are in crisis,” said Kirkland-Gordon. 

The Counseling Center also runs the Accessibility and Disability Service, which added a specialist this semester. When all positions are filled, the staff will reach 20. 

The new positions were funded with $100,000 in revenues from the stadium alcohol-sales fund, and the rest was reallocated from the now-retired Learning Assistance Service. (The Counseling Center kept its signature program, the Guided Studies Session, which serves 4,000 students a year.)

The number of students seeking intake appointments for therapy services in 2017–18 rose to 2,606, a 15.6 percent increase over the previous three-year average. 

Kirkland-Gordon said the center spent the last year re-evaluating its service delivery model. “In consultation with other counseling directors at campuses the same size as ours, we started looking at different ways of meeting the demand, because we’re all in the same boat. Maryland is not unlike many other university counseling centers.” 

Counseling Center services for non-urgent cases include therapy and support groups to variety of issues such as depression, anxiety, self-confidence and body image.  In addition, it offers psychologist-led workshops to teach problem-solving skills and coping strategies for symptoms of depression and anxiety.  These popular three-session workshops, “Getting Unstuck” and “Anxiety Toolbox,” are based on cognitive-behavioral approaches to therapy.

The Counseling Center is in the planning stages of launching a Mental Health Student Advisory Board and hopes to include representatives from the Student Government Association, the Graduate Student Government, SPARC (Scholars Promoting and Revitalizing Care)and other student organizations.  

The Counseling Center also has drop-in emergency appointments for students in extreme distress. The center, in the Shoemaker Building, is open until 9 p.m. from Monday through Thursday and until 4:30 p.m. on Fridays during the fall and spring semesters. The after-hours crisis support line is 301.314.7651.

Download the Well Track app from the Apple App Store or on Google Play and register for an account with your email address for full access.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.