Washington University School of Medicine to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Digital Therapeutics in Treating College Students’ Clinical Depression, Anxiety and Eating Disorders
SilverCloud Health, a global provider of clinically validated digital mental healthcare solutions for health systems and payers, announced today a national research partnership with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. As part of the collaboration, SilverCloud Health will deliver a digital therapeutic solution for use in clinical interventions for the treatment of depression, anxiety and eating disorders. The clinical study will evaluate the effectiveness of digital interventions in treating these common mental and behavioral health issues among college students.
The study is critical to expanding access to vital mental health resources for an increasingly underserved population. A 2017 American College Health Association Survey of 63,000 college students at 92 schools found that two in five described themselves as being so depressed that they “struggled to function.” Three in five reported feeling “overwhelming anxiety” during the previous year. According to the survey, from 2009 to 2015, the number of college students visiting counseling centers also increased by 30 percent. SilverCloud Health is defining a new healthcare model to meet the demands of the rapidly growing mental and behavioral healthcare market, offering a comprehensive library of 30+ customizable evidenced-based online programs that address a broad spectrum of conditions such as stress, depression and anxiety.
For the college and university population specifically, the company’s digital mental health platform provides students with easier and earlier access to mental healthcare and support, bridging existing gaps in their mental health offerings. The SilverCloud Health platform offers both self-directed and supporter-assisted care pathways to deliver programs, content and tools to meet the needs of each individual user. The company tightly integrates its approach with student counseling centers to ensure that students receive the right care, at the right time, in the right setting, which contributes to an improved experience, with lower costs and better outcomes.
“College and university students nationally are experiencing increasing levels of anxiety and mental health challenges, making the need for easy, accessible tools and resources for managing and effectively treating these conditions a top priority for schools of all shapes and sizes,” said Ken Cahill, CEO of SilverCloud Health. “SilverCloud Health is honored to be collaborating with the Washington University School of Medicine as the digital therapeutics partner for this research initiative.”
For the purposes of this research study, a team led by Denise E. Wilfley, PhD, Scott Rudolph University Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Washington University Center for Healthy Weight and Wellness, received a five-year, $3.8 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. Researchers C. Barr Taylor, Research Professor, Palo Alto University and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and Michelle Newman, Professor of Psychology at Penn State, plan to identify students dealing with clinical depression, anxiety and eating disorders from a pool of roughly 150,000 students at 20 colleges, universities and community colleges.
Students participating in the Washington University School of Medicine research will receive an e-mail from their school’s registrar’s office, inviting them to take a survey. When the survey is completed, the research team will identify the students as having or being at high risk for depression, anxiety or an eating disorder. Half of those students will then randomly be offered the mobile app while the rest will be referred to standardized counseling. If it’s found that a surveyed student’s problems are too advanced, he or she will be referred to more immediate help.
Find out more about the Washington University School of Medicine project and partners via News Hub. Visit SilverCloudHealth.com to see how the company is revolutionizing mental healthcare delivery and access. Currently, the platform is supporting more than 240 organizations across its global customer base, delivering a suite of over 30 evidence-based online programs—with 65% of users showing a clinically significant reduction in symptom scores.