Online support system for students in higher education: proof-of-concept study

Touloumakos, Anna K., Goozée, Rhianna, Papadatou-Pastou, Marietta, Barley, Elizabeth ORCID:, Haddad, Mark and Tzotzoli, Patapia (2016) Online support system for students in higher education: proof-of-concept study. Digital Health, 2. pp. 1-24. ISSN 2055-2076

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Providing support to the increasing numbers of students facing mental health difficulties in higher education (HE) can be difficult due to stigma or lack of resources. Alternative and/or complementary sources of support are needed, such as online interventions that are recognised for their therapeutic value and cost-effectiveness.

We aim to provide evidence supporting the conceptual and practical value of a newly developed online multimedia intervention system for HE students who face mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression and study-skills difficulties.

Students from five universities were invited to participate in a cross-sectional proof-of-concept study. Students were invited through the universities’ internal communication channels. Following demonstration of each part of the system, students completed a survey with quantitative and qualitative questions.

Response was largely positive. Positive responses on the features of the questionnaire ranged between 65% and 86%; on the features of the workshops ranged between 57% and 91%; on ‘My place’ ranged between 65% and 79%; on the animated videos ranged between 79% and 92%; and on the overall system ranged between 78% and 89%. Participants indicated areas for improvement and ways in which such improvement could be accomplished; these then guided the development of the system.

The results confirm the need for such a system. It can complement student support services (SSS) by dealing with cases with mild to moderate difficulties, hence allowing SSS to prioritise and effectively address more severe cases. Potentially this method can provide a meaningful alternative to SSS; this is worth investigating further.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1177/2055207616655012
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-onCommercial 3.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Keywords: Online support system, students, higher education, anxiety and depression, study skills
Subjects: Education > Higher education
Medicine and health > Mental health
Medicine and health
Depositing User: Elizabeth Barley
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2017 12:02
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:51


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