New app for UCCS students designed to combat loneliness, isolation – UCCS Communique

Nod is an app that offers research-backed ideas and tips for building social connections in college.

As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of COVID-19, forming and maintaining social bonds is more complex than ever. Despite these challenging circumstances, making those social connections remains an essential component of the student’s experience.

Data from a survey of college students’ active minds regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their mental health found that 80 percent of students reported experiencing loneliness and isolation, making it among the three most common problems along with stress, anxiety (91 percent) and disappointment/melancholy ( 81 percent).

“It’s not surprising that people feel more isolated and lonely,” said Katie Smith, director of health promotion at UCCS Gallogly Recreation and Wellness. “Students come to college expecting to have some of the most impactful social experiences in their lives and end up feeling disappointed and disappointed when their reality differs from those expectations. When friendships don’t happen easily, students can feel isolated as if they are the problem.”

As students return to the classroom, it will be essential to foster a culture of communication and provide easy access and scalable tools that support students’ social and mental well-being. Nod is a research-backed app designed to help students thrive in today’s physically distant world, enabling students to build authentic social connections as part of a successful college experience.

“We are excited to receive a scholarship in order to bring Nod to our campus,” said Amanda Alli, Dean of Students. “Over the past year, we have been working with more students than ever before through the CARE (Campus Response and Assessment) team. Many of the students we work with have reported feeling lonely and isolated, and that the pandemic has affected their mental health. We hope it helps. The fun and interactive Nod platform enables our students to build connections that support their well-being and academic success.”

Click nod to positive psychology and social bonding to help students build the friendships they want and need. Unlike social media apps that focus on sharing content and making it easier to meet people, Nod is all about the individual.

“Nod is a digital tool that can help spark new ideas and motivate to make friends. Through the app, students can set goals to expand their networks and make connections, read tips on meeting new people (online and in real life), and try interactive ideas to help manage stress. and anxiety about meeting new people,” Smith said. “Research shows that Nod is effective in reducing college student depression and loneliness, while improving sleep habits, social connections, and intent to continue in college.”

The app uses science-backed skill-building challenges and personal reasoning exercises to break social goals into achievable steps. Nod’s interactive hints and tools are designed to support students across different learning environments, including on-campus, hybrid and fully remote.

“I encourage faculty and staff to share this wonderful tool with their students,” Smith said. “Mentioning it in one-on-one conversations, including in your syllabus as a resource, and even guiding students through the download process will help promote this important tool with students at UCCS.”

Download Nod from the App Store or Google Play.

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