Stronger app provides a new outlet to express issues


Photo by Sneha David

Using the MCPS Stronger Student app, students are able to access various mental health resources through their phone.

By Sneha David, Assistant Online Editor

In the past five years, MCPS has taken many new initiatives to improve students’ wellness, whether it be through programs implemented in the classroom or online resources. Partnering with past Montgomery Blair High School students, MCPS is now offering a new app, “Stronger Student.” The app was created to connect students with crisis support resources and an anonymous place where they can report bullying, harassment and hate bias.

“I think a lot of these new policies and statements about wellness are so important because it shows that the county is at the bare minimum aware of these issues and is putting in effort to address them,” WCHS junior Kanza Ishan said. “By implementing county-wide statements that directly address wellness to said teachers, these policies are also helping to educate MCPS staff and adults about how to better take care of today’s students.”

The “Stronger Student” app was created so struggling students could get the help they needed confidentially. No data is collected, and MCPS has no identifiable record of which students use the app, allowing students to reach out without fear of others knowing.

“This is very important because it provides students the ability to find resources and report incidents without feeling ashamed or embarrassed, yet receiving the services they may need,” WCHS mental health specialist Maria Bruno said. 

Some resources “Stronger Student” connects students to are various crisis hotlines, organizations and reporting forms. Students can use these forms to report incidents, whether it be racism, sexual harassment, child abuse or other areas of concern. While this form is not confidential and asks for personal information, it may eliminate students’ fears of reporting something in person.

“The app provides an easy to navigate platform to report incidents in one place without having to ask others directly which could be difficult depending on the situation,” Bruno said. “This app provides a very straightforward form to report bullying which is streamlined from the regular written form. In addition, the form can be received by the appropriate parties instantly.”

While there is always the option of reaching out to an adult at school to get help, MCPS wanted to make that easier with the “Student Strong” app. The list of resources online has made it much more accessible, as students can get help through their phones, rather than struggling to talk to others. 

“Generally, students can ask an adult or administrative figure about where they can find helpful resources,” Ishan said. “However, many students aren’t comfortable with doing that. Through the app, simply checking online can help kids become more aware of things they can do and use when they do need help.”

Although some believe the online resources are not beneficial, “Stronger Student” has received mostly positive responses from students. Many are more comfortable with the idea of an app making it more accessible and convenient to reach out for help on a variety of critical issues.

“This app does make it easier for students to reach out for help, especially because it can be done discreetly and on the student’s own time and capability,” Ishan said. “A lot of kids, including myself, refrain from receiving help/support on a mental issue solely due to the fear of confrontation or struggle to directly communicate the problem to an adult. Having a space where students can speak on their issues platform they’re comfortable with, their personal phones, without having to face someone directly definitely makes reaching out for help much easier.”