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JMIR Res Protoc. 2016 Nov 4;5(4):e201. doi: 10.2196/resprot.6446.

Enhancing Self-Efficacy for Help-Seeking Among Transition-Aged Youth in Postsecondary Settings With Mental Health and/or Substance Use Concerns, Using Crowd-Sourced Online and Mobile Technologies: The Thought Spot Protocol.

Author information

1
University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada.
2
Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, Toronto, ON, Canada.
3
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
4
Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, Toronto, ON, Canada.
5
Centre for Excellence in Economic Analysis Research (CLEAR), St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.
6
Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA, United States.
7
Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada.
8
Michael Garron Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.
9
QoC Health, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Seventy percent of lifetime cases of mental illness emerge prior to age 24. While early detection and intervention can address approximately 70% of child and youth cases of mental health concerns, the majority of youth with mental health concerns do not receive the services they need.

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this paper is to describe the protocol for optimizing and evaluating Thought Spot, a Web- and mobile-based platform cocreated with end users that is designed to improve the ability of students to access mental health and substance use services.

METHODS:

This project will be conducted in 2 distinct phases, which will aim to (1) optimize the existing Thought Spot electronic health/mobile health intervention through youth engagement, and (2) evaluate the impact of Thought Spot on self-efficacy for mental health help-seeking and health literacy among university and college students. Phase 1 will utilize participatory action research and participatory design research to cocreate and coproduce solutions with members of our target audience. Phase 2 will consist of a randomized controlled trial to test the hypothesis that the Thought Spot intervention will show improvements in intentions for, and self-efficacy in, help-seeking for mental health concerns.

RESULTS:

We anticipate that enhancements will include (1) user analytics and feedback mechanisms, (2) peer mentorship and/or coaching functionality, (3) crowd-sourcing and data hygiene, and (4) integration of evidence-based consumer health and research information.

CONCLUSIONS:

This protocol outlines the important next steps in understanding the impact of the Thought Spot platform on the behavior of postsecondary, transition-aged youth students when they seek information and services related to mental health and substance use.

KEYWORDS:

crowd-sourcing; eHealth; help-seeking; mental health; mobile applications; participatory action research; substance use; transition-aged youth 

Conflict of interest statement

Sarah Sharpe is a cofounder and shareholder in QoC Health. Gunther Eysenbach is the editor-in-chief and publisher of JMIR.

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