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Doctor of Nursing Practice
Public Health Nurse Leader
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Health Promotion and Mental Health, Mental Health and Outreach on Campus, Mental Health Outreach Media Campaign, College Mental Health Promotion, Health Promotion and Mental Health for College Students
DNP Project Chair
DNP Project Member Name
Genevieve E. Chandler
DNP Project Outside Member Name
Ester R. Shapiro
Mental health problems among students on college campuses have increased in severity over the last decade. On-campus health providers have reported seeing students with more complex problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, and mixed diagnoses that require frequent and regular follow-up and treatment. Students who require mental health services assistance from on-campus services need to be informed about what resources and services are available and how to access them. Since most on-campus counseling services are set up as short-term treatment models, providing students with community-based resource options is also important.
The purpose of this capstone project was to examine the impact of an outreach education campaign intended to heighten awareness of mental health services and resources to undergraduate students on an urban public university campus located in New England.
The outreach effort was evaluated for its impact on mental health help-seeking behaviors by measuring increased utilization of the on-campus Counseling Center and a designated mental health Web site. The Web site was developed for this project and includes campus and community mental health resources, as well as national organizations that provide self-help and mutual-help services. The outreach effort was evaluated in three ways: (a) through pre and post-test student questionnaires; (b) by measuring increased utilization of the on-campus Counseling Center; and (c) by documenting student use of the designated mental health Web site. Based on ANOVA, although the target goals were not fully met, one of the four objectives was fully met and the other three showed some improvement. Results supported that students who viewed the campaign had a higher increase in awareness of on-campus services from the pre to post-campaign. There was not, however, a significant increase in awareness of the Center’s hours or its location. Participants responded post-campaign at a statistically significantly higher rate than pre-campaign that they would use or refer a friend to the Counseling Center. Participants also felt that the hyperlinks to other campus support services and online mental health resources were moderately, very, and extremely helpful. Of those who saw the campaign, 86.9% reported that their awareness about mental health resources and services was increased. The Counseling Center also appreciated 7% of their new triage patients who identified the campaign as the reason for their visit. Of the participants who were surveyed post-campaign, 22% had visited the Web site.
Using a short-term media campaign for heightening awareness on an urban diverse college campus had a positive impact and was overall effective for the general population. Future studies should investigate whether media campaigns are more or less effective for different specialty groups such as those based on gender or ethnicity.
Additionally, utilization of quicker marketing techniques such as texts or blog messages for details about hours, location, and other access to services may be more effective in reaching students too busy to take the time to search Web pages for this information. Continuing to seek out improved communication methods that assist in the delivery of mental health resources and services should be a campus priority.