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Five Areas for Supportive Accountability

Once your mentee is engaged with the right app and appropriate goals have been mutually decided, your role is to support them in achieving these goals. Each app is different and has its own protocols and recommended engagement practices. If your mentee is struggling to engage in the app, your job will be to help to identify and efficiently address common difficulties. 

These will fall into the following areas:  

  • Usability (design flaws in the app)
  • User engagement (a lack of motivation)
  • Fit (the app does not address mentees’ specific needs) 
  • Knowledge (incorrectly using the app)
  • Implementation (insufficient integration of new skills into the user’s daily life)

The Efficiency Model (Schueller et al.)2, outlines these 5 categories of failure points and provides guiding questions you can ask your mentee to diagnose and resolve the issue.

2 Schueller, S. M., Tomasino, K. N., & Mohr, D. C. (2017). Integrating Human Support Into Behavioral Intervention Technologies: The Efficiency Model of Support. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 24(1), 27-45. 


Technical problems with using the app or website.

Key questions
  • Have you downloaded the app?
  • Have you successfully logged in?
  • Are there any features that don’t seem to work?
How to address
  • Delete and reinstall the app 
  • troubleshoot within app
  • Contact technical support of the app
  • Contact MentorPRO technical support


This refers to the mentee’s knowledge of using their program or app. Problems may arise with understanding how the app functions (like not knowing what specific buttons do) or problems with following the directions from the app.
Knowledge is fundamental because if your mentee does not understand how to use the app, they can’t learn the skills being taught.

Key questions
  • Do you know what all of the buttons in the app do? 
  • Do you have any questions about how to use the app? 
  • Are you getting any error messages? 
How to address
  • Have you been progressing?
  • You should have a basic understanding of the app and how it works to create change in your mentee. 
  • Seek support from our team if you have any questions.


Fit refers to whether the app is appropriate for your mentee. If your mentee does not believe that the app is right for them, then it will be difficult for them to be motivated to use it.

Key questions
  • What is the goal of this app, and why do you think it is important to do?
  • What are you hoping to get out of using this app? How might this help you? 
How to address
  • Discuss motivation for using the app with your mentee. Later in this course, you’ll learn a technique called Motivational Interviewing as a way of being curious and asking useful questions to help the mentee understand why they’re using the app. 
  • Discuss what might be different about the mentee’s life if the app worked for them. 
  • Ask permission to share why you think the app might be useful: “Would it be ok with you if I share why I think you could benefit from this app?”


Problems with engagement happen when the mentee knows how to use the app and why it could be beneficial, but lacks the motivation or desire to use it. You may notice your mentee does not open the app as frequently as they should be or is avoiding using it. They may use it for less time than recommended. You’ll know that there is a problem with engagement when your mentee isn’t keeping up with the goals you agreed upon for using the app.

Key questions
  • How often are you using the app?
  • How long are you using it?
  • Are you avoiding the app at all? 
  • What are some barriers to using it? 
  • Is there anything you don’t like about using it?
How to address
  • A key step to implementing Supportive Accountability and improving engagement is increasing your mentee’s internal motivation to change. A way of helping increase internal motivation is Motivational Interviewing, a research-backed strategy. These are a few key ways that you can use to help your mentee engage in app-delivered mental health interventions:
    • Connect to your mentee’s values and goals:
    • How might using an app help to achieve their goals, and align with their values?
    • Look for “change talk” or action talk — any language that expresses:
      • desire to use the app (e.g. want, wish, hope) 
      • ability to use it (e.g. can, will, could) 
      • reasons for using the app (I would have to…)
      • need to use it (have to, got to).
      • Affirm that language! Eg. “Tell me more!” or “I really admire your persistence!” or “You really want to start using this app more, you’re ready to do it!” Be sure to really emphasize the desire, ability, reasons, or need they have expressed.
    • Use OAR skills for listening and engaging with your mentee!
      • O: Open-ended questions: What do you think about using the app? How has using the app helped you?
      • A: Affirmation: reinforce any motivation with statements like “I give you a lot of credit for thinking of ways to use these apps more!” Or “You raise a good point about how doing ____ was very helpful for you.”
      • R: Reflective listening: confirm the emotions, motivations, and concerns your mentee expresses. Repeat back any change talk related to enjoying the app, or any progress that they have made.
    • Utilize the importance ruler: Ask your mentee to rate, on a scale from 1-10, how important it is to them to achieve each goal.
      • Whatever number they say, elicit reasons for why they didn’t rate it lower. This allows you to affirm any reasons they give for why working toward their goal is (at least somewhat) important to them.
      • You can also ask them what it would take for them to rate it as more important, and brainstorm together how to build those motivators.
    • Allow your mentee to weigh the pros and cons of working toward their goal, validate both sides, but emphasize their reasons for change
    • Ask about extremes: what would be the best possible outcome of using an app to achieve their goal? What would be the worst outcome of not using it?
    • Imagine the future: ask your mentee to imagine a future where all of their “top problems” are solved – what would be different then? How would life be different? 


Many mentees struggle with transferring what they learned on the app to daily life, and this may cause frustration and cause them to disengage. As a mentor, you can assist them in figuring out how to apply the skills and strategies when going about their lives.

Key questions
  • How are you using the skills that you’ve learned in the app in your daily life? 
  • In what ways do you find the skills helpful? 
  • When are you thinking about what you’ve learned in the app? 
  • Do you have any difficulties using the skills in your daily life? 
  • Are there any barriers to using the skills? 
How to address
  • One thing that can really help your mentees and boost the efficacy of apps is practicing the skills they learn. Many skills require that users practice outside of the platform, but doing so alone can be hard and discouraging. Your role is to help mentees think about ways of implementing skills they learn (i.e. mindfulness, meditation, etc.) into everyday life. Similar to engagement issues, you should not feel like you need to solve the problem for them but help them figure out how to solve the problem of implementation for themselves.
  • Helping mentees understand and apply the skills they are learning in the apps to real-life situations can be really beneficial! Although helping your mentee practice new skills may seem like a trivial task, it significantly improves outcomes.
  • Reflect and Normalize Feelings
  • Remember to show empathy. You should be genuine in how you respond, but you can use some of the examples below for wording. 
    • “It is really understandable that you feel that way…”
    • “I can hear that practicing is hard…”
    • “It sounds like…”
    • “What I hear you saying is…”
    • “I get the sense that…”
    • “I hear you saying that your stress is bad, but that you are having trouble implementing what you are learning in the app…”
  • Remind your mentee that this is about building new skills, so will take time and practice!
  • You can use a number of metaphors here, but after normalizing feelings, make sure to emphasize that this app is about helping mentees practice learning new habits. They have developed a particular way of approaching stressful situations over their lifetime, so it will take time to learn how to apply these skills and ultimately reduce stress and improve well-being.
  • Helpful metaphors:
    • Building new muscles: Just like you wouldn’t expect to be able to run a marathon, shoot free throws with perfection on the first, second, or even third try, it can be tough to apply these skills without practice. If you are trying to learn a new sport, you will learn it much more quickly if you practice between weekly lessons. Developing new physical muscles takes time, and so does developing new “mental” muscles. The more you practice, the easier it will become. But, practicing alone can be hard. Having someone remind and encourage you to practice the skills between lessons can be helpful!
    • Developing new skills: Just like you wouldn’t expect to be able to play a musical instrument immediately, learning these skills takes time. Practice makes perfect!
    • Cultivating new habits: When was the last time you tried to change your diet? Change your exercise routine? Was it immediately easy to implement new changes? Probably not.  It takes time and energy at first to learn how to use and apply these mindfulness skills. 
  • Remind mentees of their goals and the benefits associated with the app.  
    • Meditation trains the mind just like exercise trains the body. Remind your mentee that to get the most out of the app, users need to commit to practicing regularly. Using the app and practicing mindfulness skills for 30 minutes a week can help them start to build healthy coping strategies for navigating the stressors of being a university student. The app helps students build coping skills, reduce stress, improve focus, and maintain relationships.  
    • Connect practice to goals and current struggles: Many mentees struggle with implementing their new skills in daily life. You can support your mentee by helping them apply what they’ve learned to situations in their lives and clearly linking any practice to their stated goals and what’s been going on in their life this week.
  • Find opportunities to practice: Be proactive and encourage your mentee to practice their new skills. 
    • You can tell your mentee that being intentional and picking a time to do something can actually help us get that thing done. You can offer to look at your mentees’ schedule for this coming week and help them find a time to add it in. That way you know they’ve set time aside to use the app and practice their skills.
    •  Some people like to practice these skills as a morning routine. Others like to do it right before bed. Mindfulness skills can be practiced even when you are doing the dishes, working out, or running errands! Ask your mentee when they think they could get the most out of it.
    •  Sometimes turning on app notifications or setting alarms can help us remember to do something!  
  • Identify and address barriers: Your role as a mentor is to assist your mentee in understanding which barriers are getting in the way of their effective use of the app and come up with ideas on how to resolve these issues. It’s not your responsibility to solve the barriers for your mentee but to help them figure out what they can do to address challenges. Use the 5 failure point categories to guide your discussion.
  • Have fun with it: Try to be playful in your interactions. Some young adults like to turn what they do into a competition or race. You could both set goals on things (your mentee in the use of the app and you in some other domain) and see who gets there first. If you feel comfortable, you can also set aside some time to use the app with your mentee!

You’ll need to get at least 11 correct answers in order to pass the training