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Publication Detail
University students' use of mental health services: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Osborn TG, Li S, Saunders R, Fonagy P
  • Publisher:
    Springer Science and Business Media LLC
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    International Journal of Mental Health Systems
  • Volume:
  • Article number:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    University students, Healthcare, Utilisation, Accessibility, Mental health services, Systematic review, Meta-analysis
  • Notes:
    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Background: International estimates suggest around a third of students arrives at university with symptoms indicative of a common mental disorder, many in late adolescence at a developmentally high-risk period for the emergence of mental disorder. Universities, as settings, represent an opportunity to contribute to the improvement of population mental health. We sought to understand what is known about the management of student mental health, and asked: (1) What proportion of students use mental health services when experiencing psychological distress? (2) Does use by students differ across health service types? / Methods: A systematic review was conducted following PRISMA guidelines using a Context, Condition, Population framework (CoCoPop) with a protocol preregistered on Prospero (CRD42021238273). Electronic database searches in Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, ERIC and CINAHL Plus, key authors were contacted, citation searches were conducted, and the reference list of the WHO World Mental Health International College Student Initiative (WMH-ICS) was searched. Data extraction was performed using a pre-defined framework, and quality appraisal using the Joanna Briggs Institute tool. Data were synthesised narratively and meta-analyses at both the study and estimate level. / Results: 7789 records were identified through the search strategies, with a total of 44 studies meeting inclusion criteria. The majority of included studies from the USA (nā€‰=ā€‰36), with remaining studies from Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Ethiopia and Italy. Overall, studies contained 123 estimates of mental health service use associated with a heterogeneous range of services, taking highly variable numbers of students across a variety of settings. / Discussion: This is the first systematic quantitative survey of student mental health service use. The empirical literature to date is very limited in terms of a small number of international studies outside of the USA; studies of how services link together, and of student access. The significant variation we found in the proportions of students using services within and between studies across different settings and populations suggests the current services described in the literature are not meeting the needs of all students.
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Clinical, Edu & Hlth Psychology
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