TalkCampus app encourages peer support among students

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In an effort to help students connect with each other during times of crisis for emotional support, Delta College is encouraging them to download and use the TalkCampus app.

Researched and tested at the University of London in the United Kingdom, the app was launched in 2019 so students around the world could chat with each other about issues in order to cope with mental health.

“It’s a great opportunity to find support and connection when you can’t find it in-person,” said Katrina Springs, Delta’s campus wellness ambassador and vice president of the Active Minds club. “It’s an app that can cater to you, so if you want to see optimistic happy thoughts or get in touch with people who are feeling down, you can do that. It’s social media with a purpose, it has so much support and unity in it.”

The TalkCampus app has been distributed across several colleges and universities in the United States, including Delta College which is one of the first schools in California to use the app.

“We’re proud that our campus is one of the first community colleges in California to have the TalkCampus app,” said Heather Bradford, counselor and co-advisor for Active Minds at Delta College.

The TalkCampus app is meant to assist students in coping with anxiety, whether it’s chatting with someone when they can’t find anyone to discuss their problems with or to avoid loneliness.

“When you ask to identify what the purpose of it is, it’s to understand that students in college have struggles, such as relationships or anxiety about a midterm test,” said Bradford. “Someone could be in the middle of the night and not have a counselor to talk to and they could take out the app and chat with someone to help cope with stress.” 

What makes the app different from other social media is that it’s exclusively for students.

“One of the things about the app is that it is only accessible to students. I haven’t been able to look at it,” said Bradford. “Faculty and staff do not have access to the TalkCampus app.”

Even though the app is exclusive for students, users can still be directed to help by specialists monitoring the app 24 hours a day if a student is in need of immediate attention.

“Trained mental health specialists monitor the content on the app for conversations to not escalate to a crisis level,” said Bradford. “If someone in a conversation says they want to hurt themself or are feeling suicidal, that will trigger an intervention by these specialists to ensure that the individual is OK and are referred to resources for help.”

Delta College is currently on a free trial for three months, which was offered to the school because of the pandemic. While the trial does not limit students at Delta from communicating with students from other colleges, they can only do so with those from institutions which have a subscription with TalkCampus.

Purchasing a subscription once the trial has expired is still under consideration.

“I’m hoping that students will learn about it, download it and give us feedback on the app so that we’ll know if this is something we want to continue using,” said Bradford. “Depending on the feedback we receive, we’ll decide whether we want to purchase it or not. That’s why it’s really important that students give us feedback on how well they like it. We’re encouraging students to download and use it and we want to be able to continue offering this app.”

To create an account, students must download the app and are required to use their student emails.

“It’s important for students to realize they can’t use their personal emails,” said Bradford. “Students must use their student emails because that’s the way it identifies you as a Delta College student.”

For more information, students can visit https://talklife.co/talkcampus and learn more about the app and its features. Once the free trial has expired, Delta College will determine whether or not to continue using the app.