Student Life

June 6, 2019

UW Centralized Wellness Website Launches

Two students sitting and talking on the HUB lawn

Nothing is more important than our students’ health and emotional well-being. And yet, the prevalence of mental health concerns among college students is rising dramatically. UW is no exception, which is why the UW Division of Student Life has led a multi-year collaborative effort to increase access to timely help and critical resources through a single, streamlined online student wellness portal.

The Husky Health and Well-Being website recently launched, and will welcome students back to campus in fall 2019 with unprecedented access to a host of key resources and information. The website connects the work of the Counseling Center, Hall Health, LiveWell, the Resilience Lab, SafeCampus, UW Recreation, and other stakeholders around campus.

Meeting an Urgent Demand

The need for proactive measures to support student mental health is significant and well-documented. The American College Health Association reported in 2018 that approximately 40% of undergraduates have felt severely depressed in the last year, and according to the American Psychological Association, “America’s youngest adults are most likely of all generations to report poor mental health.”

The University of Washington community is confronting the same challenges. The UW Counseling Center recorded a 70% increase in the number of calls to the crisis counselor in fall 2018 compared to the same period the previous year. In a recent survey administered to students who left UW prior to degree completion, 54% of respondents reported that they withdrew due to “personal and well-being reasons.”

The University of Washington provides a wide range of tremendous programs and services supporting student health and wellness, including drop-in counseling, longer-term support, and an array of other wellness, resilience, and safety resources that support students’ mental and physical well-being. However, student feedback has indicated that the full range of these resources is not always known or easy to find.

Project Origins

The idea of a centralized wellness website originated from the Student Well-Being Collaborative (SWBC), a monthly convening of more than 40 staff, faculty, and students with a focus on, “How can we work together better to…

  • support student mental health and well-being?”
  • increase student access and awareness of resources?”
  • improve and align messages about health and well-being?”

Through deliberation across disciplines and stakeholder groups, the SWBC developed a vision for a website that centralizes student health-related services at UW Seattle to make resources more accessible to students.

Centering Student Needs and Voices

HHWB Student Website Design Activity

From the beginning, Husky Health and Well-Being has prioritized hearing and meeting the real needs of students. The website’s initial concept was drafted by a team of undergraduates in UW’s Human-Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) program as a capstone project, which included extensive design, usability testing, and surveying more than 700 students.

Student feedback included:

“Everyone has their own website and links. They’re not all connected in an easy to navigate way.”

“Too many websites from different departments. It’s hard to find pages without going through a rabbit hole.”

“It’s hard to figure out which services do what and if they are free/clinical.”

“Finding the right office and specific resources can be very confusing due to different activities falling under different departments. A centralized way to search for general health activities and on campus counseling would make finding assistance much easier.”

Bringing Husky Health Together

The Husky Health and Well-Being site streamlines the process of navigating UW’s breadth of offerings by surfacing the information and services that students need and want most. It also provides one-click access to crisis-related information on all pages, as well as contextual resources throughout the site.

A collaboration to its core, the project has been (and will continue to be) carried out in close coordination with student-led health initiatives and registered student organizations. The website is also designed with particular attention to accessibility and inclusivity for students of a variety of backgrounds, abilities, and life experiences.

Husky Health and Well-Being is foundational to UW Student Life’s efforts to create a more integrated and holistic continuum of care at the University, and to promote awareness, acceptance, and access for all students with regard to mental health and well-being.

For more information, contact Megan Kennedy, Special Assistant to the Vice President for Student Life, at or 206-221-5215.