College Students' Experiences with, and Willingness to Use, Different Types of Telemental Health Resources: Do Gender, Depression/Anxiety, or Stress Levels Matter?


OBJECTIVE: Telemental health (TMH) resources are plentiful; however, we know little about college students' opinions about such resources. We aimed to examine students' previous use of and willingness to use several types of TMH resources.

PARTICIPANTS: Students (N = 662) from two U.S. Midwestern colleges participated.

METHODS: Using an online survey in spring 2017, we measured students' depression, anxiety, stress, and suicidal thoughts, preferences for care options during distress, and use and interest in anonymous chats with trained nonprofessionals, online therapy, and self-help resources.

RESULTS: Overall, 10.1-13.8% had experience with these TMH resources; however, 24.6-40.1% expressed willingness to try them. At-risk students, especially those higher in depression/anxiety scores, showed greater use of and willingness to use some applications.

CONCLUSIONS: Counseling centers might consider endorsing TMH resources as potential pathways to care. TMH resources might help broaden reach with minimal cost, reduce mental health help-seeking barriers, and provide support to at-risk populations.

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Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association