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Mental health
Student mental health crisis and the question of responsibility: Should universities invest more resources in prevention than intervention?
  1. Katharina Sophie Vogt1,2,
  2. Judith Johnson1,2
  1. 1 School of Psychology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  2. 2 Bradford Institute for Health Research, Bradford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Katharina Sophie Vogt, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, United Kingdom; kathy.vogt{at}

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Commentary on: Barnett P, Arundell LL, Saunders R, et al. The efficacy of psychological interventions for the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders in university students: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Affect Disord. 2021;280(Pt A):381–406. doi: 10.1016 /j.jad.2020.10.060. Epub 2020 Nov 2.

Implications for practice and research

  • Mental health problems are prevalent in university students; but common disorders, such as depression and anxiety, respond to treatment

  • The question remains of who is responsible for delivering interventions, and how best to deliver these

  • Universities should consider preventative options, such as reducing cohort sizes, to enhance sense of community


There is a mental health crisis in university students, with mental health problems becoming increasingly prevalent.1–3 Previously, it was thought that being a university student was a protective factor for mental health (as it was predominantly the economically stable who attended). However, as more access higher education, mental health prevalence in students is changing; arguably becoming more representative of the general population.1 This, alongside increasing performance-related and financial worries, …

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  • Twitter @DrKathySVogt, @DrJTJohnson

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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