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The steady increase in mental health problems among students demands the need for supplementary mental-health services in educational institutions. Recently, a research team from University of Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis received a funding of $3.8 million to test an app designed to treat depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and other psychiatric problems common among college students.
The mental health and counseling services offered at colleges are not adequate to address the problems of every student. According to the survey conducted with the help of counseling centers from a number of colleges, a growing number of students suffer from problems related to mental health. Without timely aid, these problems can have lasting effects on students’ health, social behavior, and academic performance.
The funding from the National Institute of Mental Health backs the efforts of Washington University to include students of both sexes in the study. The researchers expect to draw around 8,000 students with mental health issues from a pool of 150,000 students from 20 colleges who are willing to participate in the study.
After a preliminary survey, students suffering from anxiety, depression, and eating disorder will be chosen for the study. Half of the students will be randomly chosen and offered the mobile app, which has been designed to address their primary mental health issues and offer personalized treatment based on any secondary problems they might suffer from. The other half will be referred to the standard counseling centers at their institutions. If the participating students are found to be suffering from severe mental illness, they will be referred for immediate help.
Using a mobile app to treat mental health could help solve the stigma of seeking assistance from a college counselor. The students need not schedule their issues since the mobile app will be available to them throughout the day. The mobile intervention will be hosted by Silver Cloud, a company specializing in the use of mobile technology to solve mental health problems.