“When students succeed,” said Linda Bowman, PhD, senior vice chancellor for Student Success and Achievement at CU Denver, “we succeed.”
But student success isn’t always a straight path, and oftentimes students need support. Which is where YOU@CUDenver comes in. Launched this fall with the help of CU Denver’s Health and Wellness area, which includes the Wellness Center, Counseling Center and Dean of Students, the digital tool for all students offers a wealth of information and resources related to health and well-being.
“YOU@CUDenver connects our students to the specific resources they need, supporting their educational and personal success,” said Bowman, who also serves as interim vice provost.
CU Denver has joined forces with Grit Digital Health, creator of the YOU portal. How it works: students create and customize an account here using a CU username and password. The portal, which is also open to staff and faculty, is confidential and names are never released.
Catered to students, the portal offers more than 600 pieces of user-friendly content, a goal tracker, and three “reality check” surveys on where a student is in terms of academics, community support and emotional and physical well-being. Once a student starts interacting with the portal, the homepage will produce content tailored specifically to that student’s needs. The portal may also direct a student to a physical resource, such as the the Phoenix Center at Auraria or Colorado Crisis Services.
In order to plan ahead, CU Denver will keep track of the sites students visit most often. “We will be able to pull from that data some additional programming that we can provide,” said Kristin Kushmider, PhD, assistant vice chancellor of Health, Wellness, Advocacy and Support for Student Success.
The need for the online tool is evident: according to data from the 2019 National College Health Assessment, CU Denver students identify academics, finances and sleep difficulty as the most traumatic and difficult things they have to manage. In addition, CU Denver’s counseling center has seen a 129% percent rise in crisis-related walk-ins since 2015. And for the first time ever, the counseling center had a waitlist last spring.
“It’s happening nationwide,” said Kushmider of the need for more health and well-being resources. “We wanted to make something available to all students to address their wellness in general.”
The tool will be promoted to students, staff and faculty starting mid-October, when the stress of midterm exams starts setting in. Peter Waller, vice president of CU Denver’s Student Government Association, applauds CU Denver’s push for wellness.
“The program is an incredible student resource, offering students information and tools on mental wellness,” Waller said. “I’m most excited for the short pieces on improving mental health that can be read even between classes.”