On May 26, 2018, NBC Nightly News Medical Correspondent, Dr. John Torres, reported on the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge’s (DGC) unique efforts to deliver better and faster mental health services to its student body in response to the growing demand for mental health services among college students. The massive research initiative is designed to understand, treat, and prevent depression.
UCLA is the first university to implement a program to offer free screening [UCLA internally refers to this as the Check In Survey] and treatment through the internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) program. Through this program, UCLA may screen for and treat depression within the UCLA student body, increasing students’ access to mental health services, and enabling those suffering from depression and anxiety to access personalized treatment modules and one-on-one counseling through the iCBT program.
In the news segment, Dr. Torres, shares statistics about UCLA’s new student study through the Depression Grand Challenge. With this study, UCLA students voluntarily participate in an online mental health screening and then are routed for tiered treatment based on the severity of their symptoms. Students with low to moderate levels of depression and anxiety are provided with a program and, if willing, paired with Resilience Peers to receive peer-to-peer counseling under the supervision of trained professionals via the Resilience Peer Network (RPN). Those experiencing more severe symptoms of depression and anxiety are promptly contacted and then routed to the most appropriate level of care. This system is provided to students free of charge.
Dr. Torres interviewed the DGC’s director, Nelson Freimer, and spoke with a third year biophysics UCLA student, Jena Shields. Jena struggled with depression and found relief through the services provided through the study (Innovative Treatment Network), as well as support from Resilience Peers like Daniel Barrios via the Resilience Peer Network.
Watch the news segment on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.
For additional coverage, please watch segments of the story broadcasted on the following local NBC stations:
UCLA Depression Grand Challenge student screening and treatment news segment NBC News Chicago, 26 May 2018
UCLA Depression Grand Challenge student screening and treatment news segment NBC News Florida, 26 May 2018
The iCBT student study and Check In Survey are part of the Innovative Treatment Network (ITN) component of the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge – a massive research initiative to understand, prevent, and treat depression.