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AIM: To assess the acceptability and explore the utility of a novel digital platform designed as a student-facing well-being and mental health support. METHODS: An adapted version of i-spero® was piloted as a student-facing well-being support and as part of routine university-based mental health care. In both pathways, student participants completed baseline demographics and brief validated measures of well-being and mental health. Weekly measures of anxiety (GAD-7) and depression (PHQ-9) and a Week 8 Experience Survey were also scheduled. Integrated mixed methods analysis was used to assess acceptability and explore the utility of these platforms. RESULTS: Students in the well-being (n = 120) and care pathways (n = 121) were mostly female and between 19 and 22 years of age. Baseline screen positive rates for anxiety and depression were high in both the well-being (68%) and care pathways (80%). There was a substantial drop in adherence over Week 1 (50% well-being; 40% care) followed by minor attrition up to Week 8. Anxiety and depressive symptom levels improved from baseline in students who dropped out after Week 1 (p ≤ .06). The student experience was that i-spero® improved their emotional self-awareness, understanding of progress in care, and knowledge about when to seek help. Most students agreed (>75%) that i-spero® should form part of regular university student wellness support. CONCLUSIONS: Digital well-being and mental health support seems acceptable to university students; however, engagement and persistence are areas for further development. Such digital tools could make a positive contribution to an evidence-based stepped approach to student well-being and mental health support.

Original publication




Journal article


Early Interv Psychiatry

Publication Date



acceptability, digital support, mental health, university students, utility