Remaining connected to friends, classmates and family in the age of social distancing can cause a strain on mental health, especially for college students who may already be suffering from other mental health issues such as loneliness and depression.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HopeLab, a nonprofit social innovation lab led by Margaret Laws ’86, in collaboration with Grit Digital health, has developed the Nod, a new app to help students cope during this difficult time.
“Using evidence-based strategies designed to improve student resilience, the app provides social connection tools that help students maintain meaningful connections while staying safe and adhering to public health directives,” said Laws, who is the president and CEO of HopeLab.
Created specifically for college students, the Nod is a free app that helps students to combat isolation by offering them easy-to-follow prompts. For example, one Nod prompt focuses on the benefits of showing gratitude: “Be free with your thanks. Thank someone for turning you on to something new. It’s flattering to find out someone followed your advice. Give a virtual shout out of gratitude to whoever tipped you off to a cool book, TV show idea or person.”
“When COVID-19 hit, we realized that there would be many students at home feeling disconnected from their social support systems,” Laws said. “We decided that to make Nod available to as many of these young people as possible during this challenging time we would make it free and available for personal download.”