Northern Star




Northern Star

Northern Illinois University’s student news organization since 1899


Ensure student journalism survives. Donate today.

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Look Both Ways: Togetherall

Lucy Atkinson
A brain is surrounded by floating hearts under the words “Look Both Ways” and the topic of the week: Togetherall. Will the new mental health app NIU has partnered with, Togetherall, bring positive change? (Lucy Atkinson | Northern Star)

NIU has added another mental health resource to its repertoire, this time it’s a mental health app called Togetherall. 

Togetherall is a mental health app that consists of self-assessments, courses and a message board for students to anonymously seek help and manage their mental health. Individuals who want help can go on the website, create an account and have virtual conversations with other peers, according to the Northern Star.


By: Camilla Dziadosz, Opinion Columnist

Ironically, technology is utilized in efforts to alleviate mental health issues when it’s evident technology plays a vital role in the deteriorating mental health of today’s society. 

A 2019 study showed children and adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media are twice as likely to develop mental health issues, according to Jama Psychiatry.

College students spend on average 4.5 hours per day on social media, according to MMS Media

This isn’t to say the Togetherall app was created with ill intent — it was undoubtedly created with genuine concern for NIU students.

The Togetherall app is a social media platform that provides students access to mental health support. But concerningly, the app promotes anonymity. 

The idea of remaining anonymous should strike concern regarding deindividuation — the state in which individuals act more impulsive and unrestrained relative to being in a group setting where they are identified, according to Britannica.

Deindividuation can be a good thing in the sense it has the potential to promote a more inhibited version of oneself, translating into emotional honesty. But, deindividuation can also encourage reckless and violent speech or behavior. 

Additionally, encouraging technology use as a supplement for connection is not a practice society should perpetuate. 

Social support is one of the many essential factors to being mentally well, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. But there are better alternatives to chat rooms for receiving social support. 

If anything, it would be nice to see student support groups at NIU — where students can have the opportunity to connect and get support in real life, not through a screen that acts as an illusion of human connection.


By: Emily Beebe, Senior Opinion Columnist

Having resources to support mental health is paramount. NIU’s new mental health app, Togetherall, is beneficial for students facing mental health challenges.

Mental health is a significant problem, especially among college students. During the 2020-2021 school year, over 60% of college students met the criteria for at least one mental health problem, according to a study published in Science Direct. This percentage is alarming; students facing mental health struggles should seek help. 

Togetherall could benefit students with mental health challenges or who need someone to talk to. Although NIU offers services through Counseling and Consultation Services, college students tend to be busy and may not have time in their schedule to visit this resource. 

CCS also offers virtual options, but using an app could be easier for students, since 99% of people ages 18 to 29 own a cellphone, according to Pew Research Center.

Students who use Togetherall can receive anonymous support. For students who may not feel comfortable talking face-to-face with a mental health professional, using the Togetherall app could be an effective solution.

Togetherall also offers self-assessments and courses to help students, according to their website. The self-assessments which range from a sleeping assessment to a trauma assessment could help students assess their overall mental health and well-being. 

The self-assessments ask questions to assess if an individual has conditions such as insomnia or difficulties with worrying, for example. 

The app also has a community discussion board where individuals can talk to each other and provide support on the app. The app uses anonymous usernames, so everything done through the app is confidential and anonymous.

Students who want to use Togetherall can create an account for free and access it through the Togetherall website.

Other universities should follow in NIU’s footsteps to prioritize college students’ mental health and well-being.

More to Discover