Joyce, D. & Weibelzahl, S. (2011). Student Counseling Services - Using Text Messaging to Lower Barriers to Help Seeking. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 48(3), 287-299.

DOI: 10.1080/14703297.2011.593705

Many studies have measured the prevalence of mental health issues amongst the student population. Of note in the literature is the absence of help-seeking amongst most sufferers. Several barriers to help-seeking have been identified in the literature. While in many cases treatment facilities are available, the literature is strangely quiet on attempts to overcome these barriers. In this paper we detail a series of studies and experiments designed to overcome such barriers. These involve the most common, and indeed, preferred method of communication amongst students, namely texting. Texts were sent on a fortnightly basis to students at an Irish third level institution. Intermittently, texts exhorting help-seeking were broadcast to all students, and the responses of students measured. Attitudes to receiving texts from the college were also evaluated. Our conclusions suggest that students do not object to receiving texts on a regular basis from the college, provided they are about college matters, and that such texting has a role to play in encouraging reluctant and needy students to avail of college counseling services. As we are seeking to persuade through technology, the application of captology (Computers as persuasive technology) to help-seeking by text is also discussed.

author = {David Joyce and Stephan Weibelzahl},
title = {Student Counseling Services---Using Text Messaging to Lower Barriers to Help Seeking},
journal = {Innovations in Education \& Teaching International},
year = {2011},
volume = "48",
number = "3",
pages = {287--299},
doi = {10.1080/14703297.2011.593705}