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Study: Supportive Texts Can Improve Students’ Mental Health

February 11, 2022

Students who receive a check-in text message from a friend or family member are less likely to experience loneliness or depression, according to a new study from California State University, Fullerton.

Supportive text messages can help students feel less isolated, stressed and depressed compared to students who receive little to no text-based support, said professor and researcher Tara Suwinyattichaiporn in a press release. Suwinyattichaiporn pointed to data from the Pew Research Center that found almost every college-aged student owns a smartphone and, on average, sends over 110 messages a day. “They’re already using this method of communication, so why not use it for good?” Suwinyattichaiporn asked. The study surveyed more than 3,700 college students between 18 and 35.

The study also found that students are much more likely to use online counseling when they believe the quality will be just as high or higher than face-to-face counseling. Suwinyattichaiporn said young people felt safe and protected from negative responses when engaging in counseling via text, naming such services as Talkspace and BetterHelp as options for students to receive mental health help via text.

“The main thing I hope people take away from this research is to check in with your friends and family and just be there for them,” Suwinyattichaiporn said.

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