Digital Health Can Improve Mental Health For University Students?

While at university, many students are faced with serious physical and mental health risks that can have a long-lasting effect on their lives. However, university students are often digitally fluent and thus can access and utilize the internet and the technologies that are present there. Digital health solutions offer promising new opportunities for health promotion, disease prevention, and care without the need for physical contact. The description of the current use of and opinions on digital health among university students can inform future digital health strategies and interventions within university settings (Montagni et al., 2018).

 

A field survey throughout 4 university campuses located in Bordeaux France that involved students aged 18 to 24 was conducted in March to April 2017. The survey was formulated in 3 sections: (1) sociodemographic characteristics and self-rated general and mental health, (2) information about the use of digital health, and (3) opinions about digital health. Concerning digital health use, 34.9% (174/498) had at least 1 health app mostly for physical activity and (49.4%, 86/174) for general health monitoring. Likewise, almost all (94.8%, 450/476) had searched for Web-based health-related information at least once in the last 12 months. The most sought health-related topics were nutrition (68.1%, 324/476); pain and illnesses (64.5%, 307/476); and stress, anxiety, or depression (51.1%, 243/476). Overall, about 44.6% (207/464) of students declared that digital health solutions could replace health services and medical consultations, provided that digital health interventions are promoted by institutional or official entities (Montagni et al., 2018).

 

Digital mental health encompasses mental health information, teaching, and interventions that are delivered via internet websites and mobile apps. These interventions can be offered alone or in concert with professional support. Moreover, they offer complete privacy, mitigating some forms of stigma, particularly for students who are reluctant to use in-person services. A recent meta-analysis of digital interventions concluded that they can be effective in improving depression, anxiety, and stress levels in students. Many may prefer mobile methods of treatment and monitoring, as might be expected given their digital literacy, and digital mental health can be offered alone or in concert with professional support (Bradley & Tugade, 2020)

 

Technology-based interventions could revolutionize mental health care in higher education. With innovative approaches, colleges and universities can envision new intervention paradigms that build on traditional models to improve mental health and well-being in the lives of their students. Digital health has the potential for improving health and well-being at the university, especially if digital health interventions consider students’ profiles, interests, and needs. For more info about our digital solutions, contact us to find a solution that can solve your needs.

 

References:

Bradley, E., & Tugade, M. (2020, May 18). Mental health in higher education: Can a digital strategy help? EDUCAUSE Review | EDUCAUSE. https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/5/mental-health-in-higher-education-can-a-digital-strategy-help

Montagni, I., Cariou, T., Feuillet, T., Langlois, E., & Tzourio, C. (2018). Exploring Digital Health Use and Opinions of University Students: Field Survey Study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth6(3), e65. https://doi.org/10.2196/mhealth.9131