Am I Blue? Memorial University hosts MoodCheck challenge
Online screening tool tracks mental health
Memorial University is asking students to track their moods using a mobile application called MoodCheck.
It hopes the new app will help students identify what makes them feel good and what makes them feel bad - and improve their mental health.
"It's designed to get students to be more mindful about how what they do affects how they feel," said Peter Cornish, the Director of the Student Wellness and Counseling Centre at Memorial University.
"Because this kind of awareness is one of the strongest predictors of mental well-being. So it's kind of like a fitness app - a mental fitness app,"
From March 14 to 25, participants will use the app twice a day to track what they're feeling, the activity they're taking part in, where they are and who they're with.
"We want to encourage students to think about and talk about mood because that is one of the ways that we fight stigma by getting it out in the open," said Cornish.
"Making it fun, making it a challenge is something that is long overdue."
9 universities compete for points
With the app, students choose icons that look like emojis and fill out as much up-to-the-moment information about their mood as possible. The goal is to try and make people aware of the length of time between their different moods.
Talk about mood because that is one of the ways that we fight stigma.- Peter Cornish, Memorial University.
Cornish said students who use the app will hopefully learn something about themselves.
"Generally we don't pay a lot of attention to subtle changes in our mood," he said.
"So what this allows you to do is track subtle changes, and it reports back to you patterns like you typically feel good when you are exercising, and it graphs it out on the phone and gets more accurate the more you use it."
Students gain points each time they check-in, and gain bonus points the more often they check-in.
Eight other universities throughout the Atlantic provinces will be taking part in the MoodCheck challenge.
The university with the most points will receive a $1,500 donation for a campus mental health initiative.
The app is part of a larger program called WellTrack, developed by Darren Piercey, a psychology professor at the University of New Brunswick.
The program provides students with a number of online tools and resources aimed at helping them manage stress, anxiety, depression and phobias.