Use of Text Messaging in a Mental Health Service for University Students.

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Mobile phone technology has become an integral part of peoples' lives. It has changed how we interact with each other and how we access information. This article describes how mobile phone use, in particular text messaging, has been used to communicate with and support students with mental health problems attending a university within Ireland to manage their academic and social lives. This study was descriptive, non-experimental, and predominantly qualitative in nature. It employed a mixed-method approach, by way of: (1) Collecting text messaging data, relating to 40 students, from four therapists across three years, and (2) auditing the service files to gather demographic data and some intervention-related information that was cross-analyzed with the qualitative text messaging data. Thematic analysis of the data using QSR N6 produced five over-arching themes: practicalities around appointments; condition/illness management; thanks, but I'm fine; progress-both academic and personal; and non-therapeutic interaction. This study showed that text messaging with a student population using a mental health support service was valuable. It offered a means of maintaining ongoing contact between the service users and the staff and acted not only as a means for receiving and giving information but as a means of maintaining the on-going therapeutic relationship.

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  • Clodagh; Quinn, Sarah; MacCobb, Siobhan Nolan

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