New, centralized mental health website to come by quarter’s end

Joseph Diebold, Web Editor

Administrators and student government officials say a new online portal centralizing Northwestern’s mental health and well-being resources will launch before students leave for the summer — potentially as soon as this week.

Associated Student Government president Ani Ajith said Sunday the new resource, dubbed “NUhelp,” is in a “very advanced stage” of development. He said he hopes it will launch this week.

Ajith, a Weinberg junior, and ASG executive vice president Alex Van Atta, a McCormick junior, met Friday with Dean of Students Todd Adams and John Dunkle, executive director of Counseling and Psychological Services, to discuss the website.

The website will be broken down into categories, including immediate help, health and wellness and academic support. It will also feature a general request form for students unsure where their problems can be solved. The form will be managed by the dean of students’ office.

“It’s a one-stop shop website for a whole host of resources that a student could continuously need,” Ajith said.

Ajith said NUhelp will serve as a “central resource point” for wellness programming and support.

“Right now these resources are scattered across dozens of websites, and it’s unclear if you have a certain situation what resource would be best for you in a particular situation,” he said. “This website aims to help that by providing just one place where you can show up on the website if you know you have a concern or an issue of some sort, and the resources and information on that page will guide you to what you need.”

Adams said Wednesday his office was hard at work on the new website but has not set a launch date. He said the exact timing depends on input from ASG and that the new resource needs to be comprehensive before being opened to the public.

“I want to make sure when we launch it that it has all the robustness we’re looking for,” Adams said.

Still, he said the website would “definitely” be available by Fall Quarter, and a soft launch is likely in the next six weeks.

Adams said when the website launches, his office will give the “full fanfare” necessary to promote it. Likewise, Ajith said ASG will take an active promotional approach, bringing information about the resource to dorms and student groups.

Adams said the website will be mostly a centralization of existing resources, including the revitalized Student Assistance and Support Services branch of the dean’s office, which is coordinated by Mona Dugo, whose position was created in December to bridge the gap between the office and students. He and Ajith both expressed hope that it will help students struggling to find answers to their questions.

“It’s just a combination of resources and a collaboration between ASG and our office to promote ways to be in touch, particularly if you don’t know where to start,” Adams said.