ICBT for College Students: Meeting Students Where They Are

ICBT for College Students: Meeting Students Where They Are

Kaitlin Gallo, Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer, CCH

As the need for mental health services increases on college campuses, and as students’ preferences for mental health care evolve, counseling centers are looking for solutions to support as many students as possible. While many students could benefit from learning skills to manage their emotions, they may not need, want, or have time for weekly counseling with a licensed clinician. For these students, Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy, or ICBT, can effectively teach them skills to thrive on campus and beyond.

ICBT fits into college students’ busy schedules anytime and is significantly more affordable than a course of counseling with a licensed clinician. When ICBT is an option offered by the counseling center, more counseling slots remain accessible to those students who truly need or prefer in-person counseling.

Various ICBT programs have entered the market in the last several years. They all have things in common, most importantly that they contain content that would typically be taught in a course of cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a solutions-oriented intervention that is focused on how thoughts, feelings, and actions are all related to each other, with exercises and skills to support what is learned in each session. ICBT programs are accessible on a user’s computer or mobile device, and sessions can be completed on users’ own schedules.

Christie Campus Health offers the leading ICBT program, SilverCloud, as part of its CONNECT@College platform. SilverCloud gives students access to several personalized mental health and wellbeing programs and tools. Each student’s individual program is targeted to their own needs and concerns. Examples of current and upcoming topics include stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, sleep, self-care, mindfulness, and resiliency. While SilverCloud is a self-guided program, meaning that students complete it at their own convenience, students also have the option to be guided by a SilverCloud coach who will communicate with them regularly and will help support their use of the SilverCloud program. This is an important benefit of SilverCloud, as research has demonstrated that guided ICBT programs are associated with higher rates of session completion as compared to unguided programs. SilverCloud is effective, with 85% of users seeing improvement. Moreover, after 3 months, 60% of those who met diagnostic criteria for depression before using SilverCloud, 50% with anxiety, and 46% who had both clinical depression and anxiety before using SilverCloud, no longer met diagnostic criteria for those conditions.

With the mental health needs on campus continuing to grow, scalable online trainings are a feasible, acceptable, and cost-effective way to meet more students’ needs. Christie Campus Health’s ICBT program, SilverCloud, can teach students skills to support a mentally healthy college experience, on their own devices and on their own schedules, giving them what they need when they need it. Contact info@christiecampus.com if you’d like to learn more.


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