Population-based initiatives in college mental health: students helping students to overcome obstacles

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


College students' need for mental health care has increased dramatically, leaving campus counseling and mental health centers struggling to meet the demand. This has led to the investigation and development of extra-center, population-based interventions. Student-to-student support programs are but one example. Students themselves are a plentiful, often-untapped resource that extends the reach of mental health services on campus. Student-to-student programs capitalize on students' natural inclination to assist their peers. A brief review of the prevalence and effects of mental disorders in the college population is provided, followed by a broad overview of the range of peer-to-peer programs that can be available on college campuses. Two innovative programs are highlighted: (1) a hospital- and community-based program, the College Mental Health Program (CMHP) at McLean Hospital, and 2) the Student Support Network (SSN) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The subsequent section reviews the literature on peer-to-peer programs for students with serious and persistent mental illness for which there is a small but generally positive body of research. This lack of an empirical basis in college mental health leads the authors to argue for development of broad practice-research networks.

DOI of Published Version



Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2014 Dec;16(12):525. doi: 10.1007/s11920-014-0525-1. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Current psychiatry reports

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID