Butler is offering free subscriptions to Headspace. Photo courtesy of Headspace.com.
KATIE DEAN | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Nearly 10 weeks into a semester with no spring break, many students are beginning to feel burnt out. On March 11, the university sent an email announcing that it would now offer students a free, one-year subscription to the Headspace app to help students to cope with stress.
In the fall, SGA conducted a survey asking for student input on whether they would like to see the university provide access to a mental health app. Following an overwhelming response in favor of an app, SGA and Frank Ross, vice president of student affairs, met to discuss the logistics. After several meetings, the university found Headspace to be the most favorable mental health app and eventually was sponsored to provide the free subscription to students.
The Headspace app features a variety of guided meditation, sleep, cardio and exercise. The guided meditations allow the user to choose the length, a narrator and a specific topic. Topics include creativity, grief, happiness, burnout and stress, among others. For guided cardio, users can walk or run to narrators talking them through intention walks, motivation jogs and appreciation jogs. The app also features a sleep section with meditations tailored to aid in sleep, through things like sleep music, soundscapes and storytelling.
Beth Lohman, associate director of recreation and wellness, sat in on one of the meetings with SGA and a member from Headspace to learn more about the app. Lohman said she favors Headspace because of its broad range of meditation options that incorporate physical activity such as yoga. Also, she said it will allow students who are not as familiar with meditation to ease into the practice.
“It’s very welcoming to beginners,” Lohman said. “There’s also a lot you can customize for people that are regulars and just want more of what they already know. So that seems to fit really well with the population at Butler where we have such a variety of folks on all spectrums of comfort and knowledge on mental health apps and meditation.”
Lohman recommends the app to students who have not yet tried meditation, just to see if it works for them. She said that engaging with the app as soon as possible allows students to have the resource available for when stressful events come up, such as finals, so they are equipped to manage the stress.
According to the University’s Headspace FAQ page, seniors will have access to the free subscription until the end of the semester. Once they graduate, their account will be switched to the free version of Headspace.
It is unclear whether the university will renew the subscription next year, but Lohman said they will look for student feedback and how effective they find the app to be in providing relaxation and coping with stress.
Annie Johnston, a sophomore secondary education major, has used Headspace before and said she appreciates Butler offering a free subscription. She said the app allows herself to get her mental health in check.
“I think we’ve reached the part in the semester where students are getting overwhelmed by everything going on,” Johnston said. “I think we neglect our mental health. Headspace gives me the opportunity to refocus my head and focus on what’s important.”
Jenna Hadley, a junior strategic communication major, said that this free service is imperative for students to navigate their stress and mental wellness, which often can be very costly. Hadley said she looks forward to using Headspace after meditating frequently last summer.
“I’m interested to see how often I will use Headspace now that I subscribed,” Hadley said. “I meditated a lot last summer and found it to be pretty helpful, but once school started back up I found myself pretty preoccupied, but knowing I have this service that is free of charge to guide me through mind exercises I might be more apt to make time for it.”
The addition of Headspace follows the tragic death of Tyler James on March 10th. This loss to the community heightened the importance of prioritizing mental health during a time where many students are beginning to feel the effects of a long, break-less semester.
Students can register for their free Headspace account here.