Unmet Mental Health Treatment Need and Attitudes Toward Online Mental Health Services Among Community College Students

Published in: Psychiatric Services [Epub March 2018]. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.201700402

Posted on RAND.org on April 24, 2018

by Michael Stephen Dunbar, Lisa Sontag-Padilla, Courtney Ann Kase, Rachana Seelam, Bradley D. Stein

Read More

Access further information on this document at American Psychiatric Association

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.


A survey assessed use of and attitudes toward online mental health services among community college students to inform how such services may contribute to reducing unmet treatment need.


A total of 6,034 students completed a Web-based survey on mental health and use of and attitudes toward mental health services. Logistic regression assessed the relationship between prior mental health treatment and attitudes among students with current serious psychological distress.


Among students with psychological distress (N=1,557), 28% reported prior in-person service use and 3% reported online mental health services use; most (60%) reported willingness to use online services. Students with no prior in-person treatment were less likely than those with history of in-person treatment to endorse preferences for in-person services (adjusted odds ratio=.54).


Students reported being open to using online mental health services, but utilization was low. Targeted outreach efforts may be required if these services are to reduce unmet treatment need.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.