• Memorial University – SPOR Collaboration Grant Research Project
    Mar 20, 2019 | Memorial University

    Stepping up care: Responding to student need

    Principal Investigator: Czarnuch, Stephen M; McKeough, Meaghan; Cornish, Peter

    Co-Investigators: Krausz, Reinhard M; Nguyen, Van Hai; Rashid, Tayyab; Ricciardelli, Rose

    Abstract: University and college counselling services are experiencing increases in the demands for mental health treatment among students. Students are wait-listed and often endure long intervals between sessions once in treatment. Typically, mental health treatment programs are based on in-person face-to-face sessions with a clinical specialist, despite the symptoms the client is demonstrating. This is an expensive way of getting help that is not always necessary for all clients. However, there are currently few if any alternatives. We propose lower intensity, less expensive and more accessible care that could address student mental health concerns before they become acute or chronic. This is an intervention that also respond to the fact that youth live online more so now than seen in any other generation. Stepped care is a newer model of treatment that offers the lowest level of intervention, determined by both an initial and ongoing assessments. Treatment intensity can be either stepped up or down depending on the level of patient need. In recent attempts to adapt the stepped care model to support mental health at Memorial University, we recognized that the model requires a mental health specialist to coordinate activities, meet periodically with the patient to refine goals and either “step up” or “step down” the model. The overall objective of our project is to re-centre the stepped care model currently implemented at Memorial University on the patient, supported by a diverse, multidisciplinary team including the patients, providers, researchers and decision makers, including an adaptation to a fully-accessible online model. Part of this work will involve moving the model to an online platform that will allow patients and clinicians to access information whenever they like. Our project addresses the needs of a variety of patient advocacy groups (e.g., MUNMinds; CHANNAL) and policy-makers, reducing barriers to access, including wait times and service fragmentation.