Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Today’s College Student: Reinventing Services Through Stepped Care 2.0

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A new stepped care model developed in North America reimagines the original United Kingdom model for the modern university campus environment. It integrates a range of established and emerging online mental health programs systematically along dimensions of treatment intensity and associated student autonomy. Program intensity can be either stepped up or down depending on level of client need. Because monitoring is configured to give both provider and client feedback on progress, the model empowers clients to participate actively in care options, decisions, and delivery. Not only is stepped care designed to be more efficient than traditional counseling services, early observations suggest it improves outcomes and access, including the elimination of service waitlists. This paper describes the new model in detail and outlines implementation experiences at 3 North American universities. While the experiences implementing the model have been positive, there is a need for development of technology that would facilitate more thorough evaluation.

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