Grant: #73055

Grantee Institution: Parkview Health

Principal Investigator: Tammy Toscos, Ph.D.

Grant Period: October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2017

Budget: $313,704

Project Aim: To examine the role, benefits, and disadvantages of telehealth in addressing mental health needs from the perspective of adolescents and young adults.

Key Findings:

  • Over half of youth surveyed reported a high level of stress.
  • Some youth prefer to use technology to reach out for support, but over half would rather talk to someone face-to-face.
  • Family members and friends provide potential pathways to care.
  • Most youth have not utilized many of the mental health resources available through technology. However, 24.6-40.1% expressed willingness to try them.
  • At-risk students, especially those higher in depression/anxiety scores, showed greater use of and willingness to use some applications.
  • Social media is both a place from which youth get support, but it is also viewed as a stress contributor.

Project Description: 

Researchers, in collaboration with community partners, used a Delphi study, focus groups, and survey to examine the role, benefits and disadvantages of telehealth in addressing mental health needs in adolescents and young adults. They examined questions including: (1) how do individuals in adolescence/early adulthood identify and engage trusted agents and reliable sources of information to make choices about getting mental health care; (2) what are the perceptions of telemental health when compared with more traditional venues for mental health care; (3) what are key elements of a high-value telemental health experience; and (4) what is the health system’s role in providing telemental health care offerings and/or connecting resources with community needs. The goal of this project was to improve access to mental health care by better understanding the perceptions of telemental health among Indiana consumers ages 14-24.

This project was funded as part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s solicitation “Optimizing Value in Health Care: Consumer-focused Trends from the Field,” which supported studies that addressed consumer perceptions of value in the new and emerging health care landscape.



Audience Response Systems and Missingness Trends: Using Interactive Polling Systems to Gather Sensitive Health Information From Youth
JMIR Formative Research | July 2019

Teens Using Screens for Help: Impact of Suicidal Ideation, Anxiety, and Depression Levels on Youth Preferences for Telemental Health Resources
JMIR Mental Health | June 2019

College Students’ Experiences with and Willingness to Use Different Types of Telemental Health Resources: Do Gender, Depression/Anxiety, or Stress Levels Matter?
Telemedicine and eHealth | April 2018

Adult Consumers’ and Mental Health Professionals’ Perceptions of Telemental Health for Youth: A Delphi Study
Journal of American Medical Informatics Association Open | April 2018

Using Immediate Response Technology to Gather Electronic Health Data and Promote Telemental Health Among Youth
EGEMS | 2018

College Students in Distress: Can Social Media be a Source of Social Support?
College Student Journal | 2018

Study Snapshot: Research Explores Perceptions of Using Technology to Meet the Mental Health Needs of Adolescents and Young Adults
AcademyHealth | September 2017