Feasibility of a personalised mental wellbeing web-app to improve help-seeking among Chinese-speaking international students
Background: International university students are at increased risk of developing mental illness, but they are less likely to seek professional help compared to domestic students. Common barriers to help-seeking among Chinese international students include costs, lack of knowledge of symptoms and treatments, time constraints, not perceiving symptoms as severe enough, and language difficulties. There is encouraging support that providing can significantly improve university students’ attitudes and intentions to use mental health services.
Aims: To develop and explore the feasibility of an online psychoeducation and personalised mental wellbeing feedback web-app among Chinese-speaking international students.
Methods: We developed a mental wellbeing web-app (MindYourHead) following a user-centred design process, consisting of prototype testing and iterative focus groups with Chinese-speaking international students. This was followed by a feasibility trial to examine the uptake and engagement of the app within a School at the University of Sydney.
Results: 130 Chinese international students accessed the app, suggesting an uptake of 13% of the School’s enrolment of Chinese students. There was significant attrition due to a QR code design issue. However, among the 46 students who gained access to the full contents, 72% engaged with the app by competing one or more of the in-app surveys. Participants who selected to use the app in Chinese were significantly more likely to engage with the in-app content.
Conclusions: The trial demonstrated promising levels of uptake and engagement with the MindYourHead app. A randomised control trial is now warranted to examine the app’s efficacy on improving Chinese international student’s help seeking.