‘Just In Case’ app provides emergency lifeline to students

Screenshot of the "Just In Case" app

When emergencies arise and situations begin to blur together, what to do and who to contact could be difficult to figure out. Now there’s an app for that.

Spearheaded by Student Services and Counseling and Psychological Services, the “Just in Case” app is designed to equip users with important information and phone numbers during various mental health emergencies, according to Dr. Priti Shah, Assistant Director of Outreach and Prevention Services and Staff Psychologist.

“When there is a critical incident on campus, people can be connected to emergency response phone numbers right away if they need help,” Dr. Shah said. “It’s an easy way for people to get mental health and other information, and to connect with people and services that may be able to help,” she added.

With the app, users can find the numbers to multiple campus outlets such as Public Safety, CAPS, Disability Support Services, Career Services, Health Services and Campus Ministries. Other numbers provided include the South Orange Police Department, National Sexual Assault Hotline, SAVE of Essex County Rape Crisis Hotline, Trevor Life- line and others.

In addition to contacting outside resources, users can access information tailored to any sort of situation. Categories such as “I can’t cope,” “I might hurt myself or others,” “Sexual assault help,” “I can’t sleep,” are covered.

“There’s also the section, ‘I’m worried about a friend,’ which I think is important for all Seton Hall students because if you have a friend that might be struggling, there might be things you could do or things you should look out for,” Dr. Shah said. “And it actually gives you steps on how to help your friend.”

The app was conceived under the partnership of eReadia LLC, a company that specializes in mobile platforming, and the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators.

Dr. Shah said that many universities nationwide have adopted the app, including Montclair State University, University of California, Berkeley and Pace University.

Dr. Shah also mentioned that Associate Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Karen Van Norman played a part in the introduction of the app to Seton Hall after being introduced to it during a presentation at a conference.

Dr. Shah worked directly with developers, including eReadia President Will DeLamater, “to ensure that the app was customized to the mental health needs of our SHU community.” According to Dr. Shah, the app cannot be found in the App Store because it is “installed” from a web page as opposed to the traditional download.

An email was sent to students from Student Services on Sept. 2 with a link to the site. “You will be able to download it from the link or from scanning the QR code on posters, so it’s really taking you to a website, and the website is installed on your phone,” she said.

The app was originally meant as a suicide prevention tool but grew into something more. According to a press release from eReadia provided by Dr. Shah, nearly half of all college students at some point have contemplated suicide. The 18 to 24-year-old age group also represent the highest smartphone ownership.

“Developers, in partnership with NASPA thought if they could put important and easily accessible information on mobile phones for students, that it could potentially be a great benefit to the SHU community,” Dr. Shah said.

The app was officially launched on Aug. 13, Dr. Shah said.

It was first released to Resident Assistants, then to students at the beginning of the school year. Two weeks after the launch, the app received a total of 879 page views, according to Dr. Shah.

Tiffany Do can be reached at tiffany.do@student.shu.edu.

Author: Tiffany Do

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