Student-initiated app targets mental health

Student-initiated app targets mental health

- UP Engineering students Chad Errol Booc and Chara Mae San Diego made a campus based app called PsychUP as their thesis project

- A report from the World Health Organization estimated that the Philippines has 4.5 million people suffering from depression

- Congress has yet to pass a Mental Health Law to address these concerns

With the increasing need to raise the level of mental health awareness in the country, Chad Errol Booc and Chara Mae San Diego created a mobile app to accompany the Psychosocial Wellness Program (PWP) of the University of the Philippines-Manila. The PWP aims to “foster awareness of mental health as priority issue” and “enhance capacity of UP Manila staff in addressing the psychosocial needs of the students”.

Student-initiated app targets mental health

(Photo caption: rappler)


PsychUp has three types of participants: the peers who will provide mental health service to the second type of user, which is the student, and the administration who will oversee the application.

In order for the app to work, PsychUP requires the web mail account of selected student-respondents from UP Manila. The app allows the participants to send messages to each other as a sort of counseling service. Once the student thinks that the problem has been resolved, he/she can mark the conversation as resolved. The conversation will then be deleted from the chat history.

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Participants are given the freedom to express themselves without the stigma brought about by having mental health issues as the whole process remain anonymous. Students may also rate their peers.

For the administration, the app has a dashboard tab which they can use to post announcements from their offices.

Booc and San Diego considers mental health first aid as one of the most effective ways of addressing mental health concerns. In their research they noted that the suicide rate among the Filipino youth increased from 1984 to 2005.

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“We have recognized the need for an accessible mental health care. I have friends who had suffered from mental health problems but were not able to seek help due to inaccessibility of services. They did not know what to do with it. Others were afraid of seeking help thinking other people might judge them,” Booc said when asked about their inspiration for the project.

PsychUP app is not yet available in the Android and iOS stores. However, according to Booc and San Diego, the project got an “overwhelming approval” from the administration, faculty and staff of UP Manila.

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