University students are at a heightened risk for a variety of mental and physical health problems, including depression, anxiety, stress, academic and relationship problems, reduced quality of life, decreased well-being, and poor physical health. Prevalence estimates suggest between 12% and 46% of university students will experience mental health difficulties within any given year.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the unmet need and placed greater strain on in-person psychological support services, contributing to university counselling service wait times and counsellor to student ratios of up to 1:1,604.

Web‐based psychological interventions are efficacious in targeting specific mental health problems in students and are a preferred avenue for students to obtain information and services.

Developed and evaluated by researchers from The University of Queensland’s (UQ) School of Psychology the YOLO Program is a 4‐week web‐based intervention for university students consisting of four 30–45 minute modules, each targeting one or two of the six Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) core processes.

The researchers’ analysis of a randomised control trial of 1,162 participants showed significant improvements from pre‐ to post‐intervention compared with waitlist control on all primary outcomes and ACT processes. All YOLO intervention gains were maintained at follow‐up.

Key features:

  • Web-based, scalable psychological intervention
  • Tailored specifically for mental health distress commonly experienced by university students
  • YOLO participants show significant and sustained improvements in mental health skills.

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