Dynamic Monitoring of College Student Mental Health

Mental health problems are highly prevalent among college student populations and likely increasing in frequency and severity. In fact, the American College Health Association reported that 27% of college students felt "too depressed to function properly," and 40% reported feeling "overwhelming anxiety" at least once in the preceding year. Yet, despite the costs, a recent survey showed that only a meager 19% of students who received a psychiatric diagnosis had sought treatment. It is clear that we are failing to meet the mental health needs of our students. To address this huge unmet treatment need, and to prevent and reduce the shattering levels of anxiety and depression on college campuses, we need to study both macro-level national trends in treatment seeking on campuses, and micro-level patterns of how the daily lives of college students are altered by their symptoms. This can best be accomplished via dynamic tracking and monitoring of college students’ mental health using innovative computation approaches and mobile technology. In this project, faculty and fellows with mental health (psychology) expertise and those with methodological and analytic (engineering) expertise are working to transform how we investigate -and ultimately improve- college students’ mental health.