National assessment and e-health interventions for mental health problems among university students

Swedish Partnership in The WHO World Mental Health International College Student (WMH-ICS) Study

Project Summary

The life transition between late adolescence and emerging adulthood is often troubled, with one in three university students showing symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, help-seeking behavior is low due to emotional and practical barriers, generating a treatment gap. The purpose of this project is to map Swedish university students’ mental health problems and deliver e-health interventions to those at risk. The project is organized in four work packages (WPs) over five years. An annual epidemiological survey targeting first-year students maps mental health problems and disorders, including suicidal thoughts and behaviors (WP1), and annual follow-up surveys track participants’ developmental trajectories in terms of persisting problems and help-seeking behavior (WP2). Participating students are offered participation in a three-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT), delivering guided or unguided transdiagnostic e-treatment, with a 6-month waitlist for unguided treatment as a control group (WP3). At 3-week follow-up, treatment study participants who have not shown any improvement are randomized to personally adapted e-treatment or to continued WP3 treatment in a study-within-a-trial (WP4). The project builds on Swedish partnership with the WHO WMH-ICS 18-country international consortium. We envisage high potential for reducing mental health problems among Swedish university students, improving academic performance and reducing dropout.

About the Project

Project Duration



The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)


Anne H Berman, Uppsala University

Claes Andersson, Malmö University, Visiting Researcher at Uppsala University

Marcus Bendtsen, Linköping University

Petra Lindfors, Stockholm University

Karin Engström, Karolinska Institutet

Philip Lindner, Karolinska Institutet

Naira Topooco, Uppsala University