Mental Health

Engaging the Student Community to Develop a Universal, Video-based Mental Health Intervention for Young People

We will engage local community members, especially college and high school students, in a collaborative effort to develop, refine and test a universal mental health intervention based on brief online videos. The starting point will be the inkblots video series initiated in 2011 by one of our team members, Blake Wagner III. The central theme is that “tiny shifts can lead to big changes”—i.e., subtle changes in how we approach life can yield large and lasting benefits for our mental and emotional well-being. Methods for engaging the community will include interactive websites, student film competitions, surveys and focus groups, and other forums and events.

The project will not only evaluate the effectiveness of newly developed videos, but it will also design and test strategies for maximizing their reach. If “The Sneezing Baby Panda” can accumulate over 150 million views on YouTube, surely there is potential for meaningful, engaging, and helpful videos to spread virally. Given the prevalence of mental health problems among young people today and the promise of online interventions for this population, our ultimate goal is to reach the majority of adolescents and young adults worldwide. The videos will help young viewers directly and will help them to help others, potentially improving the well-being and supportive culture of entire communities.

Project Team:

Daniel Eisenberg, School of Public Health
Suzanne Dooley-Hash, Medical School
Todd Favorite, Medical School
Anne Kramer, Medical School, Depression Center
Patricia Meyer, Medical School, Depression Center
Michelle Riba, Medical School
John Greden, Medical School, Depression Center
Kelli Hall, Medical School
Cheryl King, Medical School, College of LSA
Kate Fitzgerald, Medical School
Justin Heinze, School of Public Health
Sarah Lipson, School of Public Health
Inbal Nahum-Shani, ISR