‘Pacifica’ app offers tools to stay on top of your mental health


Every college student knows that finals week can be the most stressful time of the year. Between studying, getting ready for winter break and wrapping up the semester, it can be easy to put your own health to the side. Pacifica, a new app, is a great way to keep track of your mental health.

Through tools based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), the app includes many different ways to stay on top of your mental health, including mood and health habit tracking audio meditations, thought-recording activities and goal-setting tools. The app can also help connect users with real health professionals and therapists, as well as a supportive peer community. The app has activities that can last from a few seconds to 15 minutes.

“At Pacifica, our goal is to use technology to help make mental health care more accessible, and to remove the stigma around mental health in general,” Ashley Toy, head of marketing at Pacifica Labs, the creator of the app, said. “According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five American adults experience a mental illness, but of those, 60 percent did not receive treatment in the previous year. This could be due to cost, lack of accessible treatment options or stigma. Our mission is to help bridge that gap by offering digital tools for managing stress, anxiety and depression available on your smartphone.”

During finals season, Pacifica is giving university students, faculty and staff with .edu email addresses free Premium access to get the most out of what the app has to offer. The app currently has over 1.7 million users.

“Pacifica is great for college students because it provides easy access to helpful stress relief tools, and takes just a few minutes a day.” Toy said Smartphones can get a bad reputation, but when used the right way, they can be a great way to make your mental wellness a priority. Especially this time of year, college students have extremely busy schedules, so being able to destress in just a few minutes can be extremely useful.”

Our activities take anywhere from just a few seconds to around 15 minutes. Even just one minute of deep breathing before an exam can make a huge difference.

In college, and once out of college, it is crucial to be able to deal with stress and anxiety. Through Pacifica, students can not only learn new skills and techniques to handle these emotions, but can enhance the skills they already possess. This can help students reach their full potential and be as successful as possible while still taking care of themselves.

“Each of the different tools helps teach a different coping strategy, like challenging negative thoughts and reframing them in a more positive way, or being mindful of one’s emotions,” Toy said.

It is clear that no matter how well you think you manage stress, Pacifica can still be a useful tool. With so many different options and activities within the app, there is definitely something for everyone, and the app can help make each experience tailored to the user.

“We believe that real change comes from small steps taken over time,” Toy said. “We want to give individuals the tools they need along their mental wellness journey.”

Melissa Scrivani is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at melissa.scrivani@uconn.edu.

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