UK Schools Use Apps to Address Students’ Mental Health Problems

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. turn to / tɜrn tu / (phrasal) – to go to someone or something for help

    Greg turns to his mother for comfort whenever he feels stressed out.

  2. hinder / ˈhɪn dər / (v) – to make something difficult to achieve

    The heavy rain hindered us from going to the beach.

  3. empower / ɛmˈpaʊ ər / (v) – to give someone more strength or confidence

    Good leaders empower their members to do tasks independently.

  4. well-being / ˈwɛlˈbi ɪŋ / (n) – a condition of having good health

    The company promotes work-life balance because it cares about the well-being of its employees.

  5. unconvinced / ʌn kənˈvɪnst / (adj) – having doubts about something

    Many consumers remain unconvinced by the product’s claims.


Read the text below.

Some universities in the United Kingdom have turned to mental health apps to address students’ mental health issues.

According to a recent study, around 20% of nearly 40,000 UK students suffer from mental health problems. Most of these students were diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders.

Some universities are looking into increasing the number of counselors on campus, but insufficient funding hinders them from doing so. This has prompted some universities to rely on mental health apps. One of these institutions is Queen’s University, which offers a counseling app. The app gives users access to 24/7 counseling sessions with consultants and life coaches.

The use of apps has garnered positive feedback from some people. Amelia Trew, a student at the University of East Anglia (UEA), believes that the apps empower students to manage their well-being. UEA has various mental health apps that serve different purposes, like tracking moods or offering academic support.

Tim Rogers, a clinical director of an online mental health service, said that mental health apps are essential because not everyone who seeks help can be accommodated by existing mental health services. According to him, the number of qualified psychological specialists is not enough.

However, some are unconvinced about the effectiveness of mental health apps. One UEA student said that apps can’t address severe mental conditions because these cases require support beyond what technology can offer, including face-to-face counseling.

King’s College London Clinical Psychology Professor Til Wykes pointed out that many mental health apps have not been scientifically tested. She said that while apps can help monitor and treat mental health, they should not be used as an alternative to traditional counseling.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think universities should continue using mental health apps even though they haven’t been scientifically tested? Why or why not?
• Aside from using apps, how else can universities support students who suffer from mental health problems (e.g. create mental health organizations)? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Why do you think some students experience mental health problems? Explain.
• Do you think there are enough initiatives in your country to promote students’ mental health? Why or why not?