Howest participates in the development of a new survey platform listing apps and websites for well-being and mental health
In the wake of the health crisis, numerous apps and websites on well-being and mental health have emerged in the past year. However, the help offered through these online channels is not always of good quality. That is why the new survey website 'online-hulp-apps.be' was created. The Applied Psychology study programme at Howest participated in the screening of the apps and websites listed on this platform.
“It has been clear for some time that we were shifting more and more towards blended counselling - a combination of face-to-face and online - and the corona crisis has surely accelerated that process," explains Annelien Mees, lecturer in Applied Psychology at Howest. "It's just that not all websites and apps for mental well-being give equally reliable advice or they attach little importance to privacy. By participating in the screening, we want to select qualitative apps and websites and guide the public to qualitative online help. The need for welfare work and mental health care has indeed increased exponentially in recent months.”
Phora De Schryver dedicated her bachelor thesis to the screening of some ten apps. Annelien Mees, lecturer and research worker, acts as the Howest contact for this project.
“We also joined this project for another important reason," adds Annelien Mees. "After all, Howest intends to be a future-oriented university of applied sciences and that applies to every study programme. Therefore, the idea is to more and more integrate the apps and websites listed on Online Help Apps into the curriculum. In that way, we prepare our Applied Psychology students for blended counselling and at the same time bring the work field closer to the students.”
The platform www.onlinehulp-apps.be is a project of four universities of applied sciences (Artevelde hogeschool, Howest, Thomas More hogeschool and UC Leuven-Limburg), In4care, online-hulpverlening.be, steunpunt Mens en Samenleving (SAM) and Te Gek!?/Steunpunt Geestelijke Gezondheid. It is supported by the Vlaams Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen (VLAIO) and the Department Welzijn, Volksgezondheid en Gezin. At present the website includes about fifty screened websites and apps. By August 2021 that number should be in the range of eighty apps and websites.