BITSian mental wellness goes virtual

1000+ BITSians have completed our stress and anxiety survey and those who were found to have medium or high levels of stress were offered the opportunity to receive an online anxiety/stress management program, free of charge to them and funded by the university.

Today, students who signed up got access to their programs!

Some interesting stats:

  • 77% male / 23% female
  • 29% 1st years / 26% 2nd years / 24% 3rd years / 16% 4th years / 5% graduate
  • 54% grew up in a big urban city / 37% small town / 6% village
  • the most common topics of worry: grades, career, relationships
  • The three most feared social situations are: “giving a speech”, “becoming the focus of attention”, and “others judging you”

Over the next 3 months, students using programs will learn new tools and techniques to manage their anxiety. The goal is not to get rid of anxiety, but rather to help students better understand their anxiety and its triggers, feel less anxious most of the time, and learn tools to manage their anxiety when it inevitably arises.

The programs we use are based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a psychological approach that examines the relationship between one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

CBT triangle

CBT focuses on the present and how problems are maintained in this cycle. The approach aims to break problems down and identify the main problem and what the primary triggers are that initiate and perpetuate the problem day-to-day. CBT aims to ‘break the cycle’ and develop strategies to specifically target different areas of the cycle (e.g., activities to help one organize thoughts differently, exposure therapy techniques that aim to modify typical behaviors in anxiety-provoking situations, and deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques to reduce physical symptoms of anxiety).

CBT is particularly appropriate for use in a ‘self-help’ context – such as through the online programs that we are delivering – because it helps individuals reflect on their own thoughts / feelings / actions and arms them with tools to manage anxiety as it arises. The goal of these programs is to set up individuals for happier and healthier lives moving forward rather than create a dependent relationship with a therapist.

Some of our programs are supported by what we call an “e-coach” – these are clinicians across India who support and motivate students as they work through the program via messaging through the program platforms.

In 3 months, students will complete their programs and re-take our stress/anxiety survey to see if the programs have helped to reduce their symptoms. We’ll keep you posted!

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