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Online prevention programmes for university students: stakeholder perspectives from six European countries

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Madeleine Irish, Stefanie Kuso, Monika Simek, Michael Zeiler, Rachel Potterton, Peter Musiat, Martina Nitsch, Gudrun Wagner, Andreas Karwautz, Felix Bolinski, Eirini Karyotaki, Carla Soler Rovira, Ernestina Etchemendy, Rocio Herrero, Adriana Mira, Giulia Cormo, Rosa Baños, Azucena Garcia-Palacios, David D. Ebert, Marvin Franke & 12 more Anna Carlotta Zarski, Kiona Weisel, Thomas Berger, Michelle Dey, Michael P. Schaub, Corinna Jacobi, Cristina Botella, Elia Oliver, Gemma Gordon, Lucy Spencer, Karin Waldherr, Ulrike Schmidt

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)i64-i70
JournalEuropean journal of public health
Issue number31
Published7 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. Copyright: This record is sourced from MEDLINE/PubMed, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

King's Authors


BACKGROUND: Students beginning university are at a heightened risk for developing mental health disorders. Online prevention and early intervention programmes targeting mental health have the potential to reduce this risk, however, previous research has shown uptake to be rather poor. Understanding university stakeholders' (e.g. governing level and delivery staff [DS] and students) views and attitudes towards such online prevention programmes could help with their development, implementation and dissemination within university settings. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews, focus groups and online surveys were completed with staff at a governing level, university students and DS (i.e. student health or teaching staff) from six European countries. They were asked about their experiences with, and needs and attitudes towards, online prevention programmes, as well as the factors that influence the translation of these programmes into real-world settings. Results were analyzed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Participating stakeholders knew little about online prevention programmes for university settings; however, they viewed them as acceptable. The main themes to emerge were the basic conditions and content of the programmes, the awareness and engagement, the resources needed, the usability and the responsibility and ongoing efforts to increase reach. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, although these stakeholders had little knowledge about online prevention programmes, they were open to the idea of introducing them. They could see the potential benefits that these programmes might bring to a university setting as a whole and the individual students and staff members.

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