Mental health at your fingertips

Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A student looks at her smartphone

New mental health app available to uOttawa students

In addition to existing wellness services offered on campus, students at the University of Ottawa now have access to a new mental health app that provides services on the go.

TAO Connect (TAO) is a completely self-directed, self-help app and online program that allows students to learn about stress management, problem-solving, mindfulness skills and strategies to avoid rumination, all while developing more helpful thinking patterns.

TAO provides therapy to fit their schedule and lifestyle.  The app also sends students reminders and words of encouragement through push notifications based on their interaction and the completion of modules.

“We have a talented team that utilizes a stepped care model to offer students a variety of counselling options, especially face-to-face,” explains Geneviève Brabant, Manager of the Student Academic Success Service (SASS), Counselling and Coaching, at uOttawa. “Since we know that balancing school, life and work can be difficult, this collaboration with TAO Connect was developed to provide our students with access to mental health support, on and off campus, in a flexible way that works for them.”

TAO Connect’s technology can be used two ways: the professional counsellors at SASS – Counselling and Coaching can individually assign the online-based sessions to students as a way to enhance guidance between sessions, or students can sign-up independently for a completely self-guided experience. These students have access to a suite of digital mental health tools, but also still have the option to use the TAO app in tandem with a professional counsellor at the university. This gives everyone on campus the ability to exercise the skills and techniques they learn through their sessions with a counselor, but on their own time.

“Having access to these services can sometimes be the difference in how well a student’s semester goes,” added Dr. Sherry Benton, chief science officer and founder of TAO Connect. “The University of Ottawa has already laid excellent groundwork for fostering students’ behavioural health, and adding the online TAO platform to this foundation will only serve to make it more accessible and convenient for the entire campus.”

TAO is available for free to all university students, faculty members, and support staff. Students can register for TAO by visiting the SASS – Counselling and Coaching website or download the TAO Mobile app, via the iTunes or Android’s app stores. 


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Isabelle Mailloux Pulkinghorn
Manager, Media Relations
Cell: 613-240-0275

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