Experience of students in using online mental health interventions: A qualitative study

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Oti, Olugbenga
Pretorius, Claudette
Pitt, Ian
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Online mental health interventions have been posited as a way to reduce the mental health treatment gap among students in higher education. The effectiveness of these interventions is often limited by low user adherence. A potential solution is to improve user adherence by producing user-centred interventions. A total of 450 students from University College Cork, Ireland participated in the survey, “Tell us About Your Mental Health Post-COVID-19”. The survey examined students’ mental health over the past year, their use of technological supports, their use of mental health support services and their ratings of mental health support services used. This study explores students’ experiences with technological support. The thematic analysis of 138 open-ended responses produced seven main themes: 1) Appeal 2) Barriers to Use 3) Discovery 4) Drawbacks 5) Purpose 6) Reasons for Stopping and 7) Usage Patterns. The results of this study revealed students’ openness to using online mental health resources. It also revealed the barriers and facilitators to their use of these resources. Finally, based on our findings, we provide recommendations to researchers/designers developing online mental health interventions for university students. Some of these recommendations were to ensure safety in online communities, provide good user interfaces, support students in crises and improve the accessibility of online resources to students with learning disabilities.
This publication has emanated from research conducted with the financial support of Science Foundation Ireland under Grant number 12/RC/2289-P2 which is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission
Online mental health support , Higher education , Students , User-centred design , COVID-19 pandemic
Oti, O., Pretorius, C., Pitt, I. (2023) ‘Experience of Students in Using Online Mental Health Interventions: A Qualitative Study’, in: Papadopoulos, G.A., Achilleos, A., Pissaloux, E., Velázquez, R. (eds), ICT for Health, Accessibility and Wellbeing. IHAW 2022, Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1799. Springer, Cham pp. 124-144, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-29548-5_9
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