Current Projects

R03 – User-Centered Design of a Single-Module Digital Mental Health Intervention for College Students at Risk for Psychosis

Principal Investigators: Ben Buck, Ph.D., Behavioral Research in Technology and Engineering (BRiTE) Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington
Jaime Snyder, PhD, Faculty, Information School


Early intervention is critical in psychosis. Cognitive behavior therapy for youth at high risk for psychosis (CBT- HR) has demonstrated efficacy in reducing the likelihood of future episodes. College campuses face a particular challenge in meeting population mental health needs; unprecedented demand for mental health services outpaces available supply of providers. The college years also overlap with the typical age of first onset of psychosis, and one in four college students report psychotic-like experiences. Because of perceived logistical (e.g. scheduling issues) and social costs (e.g. stigma), many of these students report reluctance to present to services. Given these barriers to care, CBT-HR is sub-optimally suited to meet population health needs. Digital interventions have emerged as an acceptable and scalable option to deliver evidence-based psychosocial interventions at the population level. Though many population-level college mental health interventions have demonstrated promise, few if any have focused explicitly on psychosis risk.

Our team proposes to apply the DDBT framework to develop, and iteratively optimize a single-module digital mental health intervention for youth at risk for psychosis built on the cognitive behavioral model of psychosis. In the project’s first phase, we will engage N = 10 youth at risk in co-design sessions, and iteratively optimize this web-based DMHI. In the second phase, we will deploy this intervention in a pilot RCT, comparing our single- module DMHI to supportive online resources. Usability and efficacy results will support a future NIMH R34 proposal examining the development of a digitally-enabled brief intervention and referral service designed for college campuses.