BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - On beautiful spring Wednesday UAB students and staff weren’t rushing to class or zoom meetings, but instead, enjoying a day off.
“It’s been a hard year, its’ been stressful, it’s been long, there has been so many things going on personally for people and in our world and UAB recognized that while it’s just one day in the middle of the week it’s an important time to pause and take a break and just rest for minute,” says Angela Stowe. She’s the Director of student counseling services at UAB.
The holiday just one example of the University’s ongoing commitment to mental health wellness, especially during the pandemic.
UAB recently launched a new mental health app called “B well” that’s full of free resources like a wellness journal, a live calendar showing all the mental wellness activities on campus, and ways to connect if you need counseling.
What makes it even more special, is it was the idea of students.
“All of the features that are part of the app were imagined by students and came out of request by students when we asked them ‘how can we support your mental health?’” says Stowe.
The app also has a “finding calm” section with a library full of videos and exercises and activities to calm and manage your stress, including yoga offered by local instructor Ashley Clarke.
The school reached out to her after in person classes were cancelled due to COVID-19. Since then she’s made dozens of videos and classes for the school creating a slow-paced yet challenging yoga experience.
“The pandemic had a big impact on why students brought this forward, recognizing that there was a lot of isolations and loneliness and a needed a way to access resources for selfcare,” says Stowe.
The app originally was just for students, but has since expanded to faculty and is now open to anyone to download for free. UAB has plans to expand the service to other schools as well.
“We are really proud of it we are looking at being able to offer it to other institutions so their campus could have access to something similar,” says Stowe. “I am proud to be a part of uab that priorisitzes mental health.”