When Johns Hopkins University students, faculty, and staff feel they are surrounded by stress, there is an easy way for them to stop and enjoy some Calm: the university is extending free access to the app with that name through August 2020.
Members of the JHU community started getting free premium access to the Calm app last year, and 4,000 users have taken advantage of its meditation instruction, sleep assistance, videos on mindful movement and stretching, and relaxing music. Current users can continue their free access uninterrupted. New users will need to create an account at calm.com/jhu and follow these steps:
- Use an @jhu.edu or @jhmi.edu email to create the account
- Click on the confirmation email that is sent to your inbox
- Download the Calm app from Apple App store or Google Play, or go to www.calm.com
- Log in with the email you used to create the account and Calm Premium will be available for free
"Calm is a great tool for our students, faculty, and staff to improve their relaxation, stress management, and restorative sleep," says Sarah Cunningham, assistant vice provost for student life strategy and policy. "Those are key elements in a message of self-care we have been spreading, particularly to students, as the academic year has begun."
Kennedy O. Onuoha, a member of the Class of 2022 majoring in molecular and cellular biology and psychology, says she started using the Calm app at the end of August after a recommendation from her mentor in the Johns Hopkins Underrepresented in Medical Professions program.
"I struggle with an anxiety disorder, and—especially being so far from home for the first time—I realized that I needed to get as many resources as possible to help me maintain a balanced, successful life in college," Onuoha says. "When I find myself getting overstimulated, I can listen to relaxing music on Calm and focus on myself until I feel better. I also enjoy the breathing function, which helps me calm down and not hyperventilate. Also, I find that it is super helpful to listen to one of the relaxing soundtracks if I can't fall asleep."
She adds: "I would recommend it to anyone seeking more tranquility."
Earlier this year, the university's Task Force on Student Mental Health and Well-Being called for JHU to "promote a climate of awareness and support for student mental health, wellness, and stress reduction." Cunningham says with that charge in mind, the university is promoting exercise and wellness programs; mental health support; and fun, stress-busting events to students, including through the Center for Health Education and Wellness.
At the same time, the university's Human Resources team encourages employees to take advantage of their own workshops, programs, and benefits focused on health and well-being.
"Now this app can build on those activities and help anyone take a few minutes for their mental health whenever and wherever it is convenient," Cunningham says.